Dairy-Free Walnut Pesto

by Maggie on December 30, 2009

Pete and I no longer put cheese on our pizza.

Instead, we’ve taken to making a lot of pesto because nothing tastes better than pesto pizza.  Oh.  My.  God.  You must try it if you haven’t.  Though let me warn you, once you try it, you won’t go back to canned tomato sauce and cheese and toppings.  Trust me.

This is our standard pesto recipe.  Normally I just wing it and throw the ingredients in the food processor.  But tonight I was kind enough to measure it out for you, my dear readers.  Feel free to add parmesan cheese but I really don’t think it’s necessary.

Walnut Pesto Sans Fromage

3 cloves of garlic (we sometimes roast our garlic so it’s a little easier to digest)

3 cups of loosely packed basil

1 cup of walnuts (you could also use the terribly expensive pine nut)

1/4 tsp – 1/2 tsp of sea salt

Ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup of olive oil

Place all of the ingredients, except the olive oil, into a food processor.  Blend until the ingredients are almost to a paste.  While the processor is running add the olive oil. Store pesto the fridge no longer than one week.

Serving Suggestions:

– I love to put pesto on my  pizza sans fromage.

– Pete LOVES to put pesto on Mary’s Gone Crackers crackers.

– Callum likes to put pesto on toast 🙂

– We have served pesto as an appetizer on garlic bread, on a baguette, or with crackers and cheese.

– We also like to use ours as a pasta sauce.  Holy yummy.

– My girl Heather puts lemon juice in her pesto and it is a really tasty change from the usual.

P.S.   I LOVE watching Callum eat pesto.  Holy packed with nutrition!  I was proud when my mom once asked me why Callum had garlic breath.

P.P.S. When I don’t have enough basil I will use any green that has some flavour (kale or spinach work well combined with basil).

P.P.P.S The pizza dough recipe is coming.  I think we’ve perfected it!

Check out more healthy and yummy recipes here.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny the Girlie.... December 30, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Bless you my love for reaffirming to the world that pizza need not be made with tomato sauce…..for us night shade allergists we have no other option!! I make homemade pizza with pesto all the time…DELISH!!! Another thing I love to do with pesto is marinate fish and chicken in it….might even turn you back into a meat eater!!


MaggieSavage December 30, 2009 at 4:57 pm

What’s your pesto recipe Miss Jenny the Girlie? It is the most delish way to eat your ‘za! Glad my post appeals to those lovlies with the night shade allergy!
Not sure about the meat eating thing…shall I try it on my tofu?


Amanda December 30, 2009 at 6:55 pm

I too love pesto on pizza… but got to have the cheese as well baby!


MaggieSavage December 30, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Amanda, promise me you’ll try it once without the cheese! I don’t think you’ll miss it – and you can have more pizza if you skip the cheese 🙂


Stephanie December 30, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Love pesto! Very good added to a homemade bruschetta and spread on just about everything….yes, I said everything…..we really like garlic! haha!


Sonya December 31, 2009 at 7:09 am

Once again, so happy to have found you on twitter! Your blog is just lovely.

A great, great, addition to pesto is nutritional yeast. Even a few tablespoons. As you probably know, it’s loaded with B12 and adds a subtle “cheesy” texture (that Parmesan would have added).

My 3YO adores pesto too. You’ve inspired me to whip a batch today.:-)


MaggieSavage December 31, 2009 at 10:28 am

Thank you so much for the nutritional yeast idea. I am so going to try that! And thanks for the compliment. I am excited about our connection too – babycakes, candle 79, good food, cute babes…what more is there?


Sonya December 31, 2009 at 11:04 am

So this is the deal with Babycakes: apparently, their book doesn’t really provide the accurate recipes. Sad, I know. I was going to buy the book and did some research beforehand. There are lots of complaints from people about how their frosting doesn’t turn out, or the cupcakes taste weird, etc. I’m not sure why there are discrepancies, but there are. So don’t rely on the book as a measure of how things actually taste at the bakery.

Also, Toronto has recently generated a bunch of amazing, amazing, vegan baked goods. (I can send you info if you’d ever like). My standards going to NYC to try out Babycakes were SUPER high. When we got there, there was a line-up out the door. We were in a bit of a rush, so I got:

– brownie bites
– chocolate chip cookies
– gingerbread sandwich cookie
– jelly donut
– vanilla cupcake

Everything was OUT of this world. The gingerbread sandwich cookie had “cream frosting” on the inside, and it was the PERFECT consistency and sweetness. The cookie itself wasn’t even that gingery – it just tasted so homemade and wholesome.
The brownie was PERFECT. Not too dense, but perfectly moist and chocolatey. My experience with vegan cupcakes in the past, is that they’ve been more muffin-like than cake-like. Babycakes NAILED the flavour and texture. The frosting was smooth and perfectly sweet. Cookies were crispy on the outside, and moist on the inside. They tasted SO eggy, I couldn’t believe it. I could go on and on…:-)

SO worth the visit. Since TO has been amazing for vegan treats lately, I almost didn’t bother…but I’m SO glad I did. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

Dinner at Candle 79 was incredible too.

BTW – it was our first weekend away without the kids.:-)

You are going to love it!


MaggieSavage January 1, 2010 at 8:41 pm

This makes me even more JEALOUS of your NYC escapades girl! I can’t wait to go. This year – hoping the Spring. Keep your fingers crossed for me. And I def. want to leave my babes here 🙂 Love them but momma needs time to shop and eat in peace .
I think it’s so weird and disappointing that the Babycakes cookbook is misleading. The recipes I’ve tried have worked, it’s just the frosting and cupcakes that don’t leave me very yummied.


Sonya December 31, 2009 at 11:09 am

I forgot one more thing!

Have you heard of vegan treats? They make the most INSANE cakes ever. We had this in NYC as well.

WARNING: the link below will make you drool like crazy. It’s truly incredible.



Emily Stewart January 1, 2010 at 3:53 pm

My family also loves pesto on pizza; my dad has been making it for us for many years. If you are not vegan but just sensitive to cow dairy, goat cheese is a great alternative and it tastes delicious on pizza!

Maggie, I’m just heading home to Toronto tomorrow and I’m going to make up a batch of your new GF flour mix and try it out with pizza dough. So excited!


MaggieSavage January 1, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Thanks for stopping by Emily. Please do let me know how your baking adventures go with the new mix!


Sara January 2, 2010 at 12:59 pm

My weird husband doesn’t like pesto so when I make pizza, I put pesto in with my tomato sauce on my side. And sometimes I slip it into pasta sauce and the family doesn’t even notice. I agree that pesto is amazing and I tend to eat the jarred stuff – next time I’ll make my own – it’s obviously way better!


Iris January 5, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Mmm…I love pesto on my pizza!


Carolyn January 8, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Mags – I made your pesto and love it !!!! I did omit the parmesan and liked it a lot but in the end I just added a few tablespoons – not much. I gave some to a neighbour who is a huge foodie and loves pesto (makes her own) and she is converted. WE think it’s the walnuts we love. Can’t wait to try it with roasted garlic next time. Also, can’t believe it took about 60 seconds to make – love that! Kaitlyn helped 🙂 So what do you put on your pizza then other than the pesto?


MaggieSavage January 9, 2010 at 5:58 am

Thanks for the comment Carolyn! Glad you enjoyed the pesto – and isn’t it so easy to make? It makes it a shame to buy 🙂 We usually roast some veggies and put those on top of the pizza (mushrooms, onion, pepper, and tomatoes which are really good with the pesto).


mom January 13, 2010 at 8:08 am

made this yesterday to serve to my book club. Will let you know their reaction on Thursday. So easy to make and delicious with rice crackers too! Next time I’ll make it before I make pizza dough and try your suggestions.


Shu Han March 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Haha! I also replaced the terribly expensive pine nuts with walnuts when I made pesto 😉


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