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Nut-Free Spinach Pesto

Love pesto but have a nut allergy or don’t want to spend a lot of money for the pine nuts and the basil? This recipe helps both of these issues. Not only is it inexpensive, it packed with nutrient dense spinach, it is nut allergy friendly, it is so easy AND it is so tasty!

This sauce is also so versatile. You could make that traditional pasta dish…or you can use it as a condiment for a caprese chicken sandwich, as an accompaniment to a bruschetta, on top of salmon or fish and or as a topping to any type of meat for roasting/sautéing/grilling. Enjoy this sauce entertaining or as a cozy night at home with a loved one :)


Makes 2 Cups of Pesto (I use 3/4 cup for a pasta dish)


4 cups of Fresh Spinach

5 Large Garlic Cloves - lightly smashed to peel and keep whole

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3/4 cup Roasted Salted Sunflower Seeds

3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

2 tbsp Lemon Juice

1/4 tsp Salt


1. Using a small sauté pan, add the 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and turn the heat to medium high. Add the 5 garlic cloves and cook for 1 min and then turn to medium low and continue to cook for 2 minutes, flipping after 1 min, or cook until both sides of the cloves are nicely. Transfer the cooked garlic and oil to a heat-proof bowl and set aside.

2. Using a food processor, put 2 cups of spinach plus the garlic/oil mixture and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil in the food processor. Food process until coarse (around 15-20 seconds) .

3. Add 2 more cups of spinach and process again until coarse (15 seconds).

4. Add the salted roasted sunflower seeds, parm, lemon juice and salt. Food process until it is a lightly coarse but semi smooth/uniform consistency for a pesto sauce. Enjoy over fish, meat, as a condiment or in a pesto pasta dish!!

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