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Image of Simple Pesto with Zoodles or Noodles (Nut-Free and Dairy-Free)

Simple Pesto with Zoodles or Noodles (Nut-Free and Dairy-Free)

Print Recipe
This bright, fresh pesto is easy to make and is nut-free and dairy-free. Serve it over zoodles, pasta, or with grilled veggies, fish, or chicken for the perfect summer dinner.
Servings 2 as a main dish; 4 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • cup raw unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds (or combination of both)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups packed mint or basil leaves or combination of both
  • 1 tablespoon lemon about half a lemon
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey optional, omit to make this vegan and Whole30 friendly
  • 4 zucchinis spiralized or 12 oz cooked gluten-free noodles
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved

Instructions

  • Combine the garlic, seeds, nutritional yeast, salt, lemon juice, basil or mint, and honey (if using) in a food processor or high-speed blender. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
  • Stream in the olive oil, processing until fully incorporated and smooth. Taste for seasoning, adding additional salt and honey to taste.
  • If serving with noodles, toss with the pesto, top with cherry tomatoes, and serve. If serving with zoodles, toss with the pesto and let sit for 5 minutes for the zoodles to soften a bit. Toss again and serve immediately to avoid the zoodles getting mushy.

Notes

I used this Spiral Vegetable Slicer to make the zoodles in this recipe.
Feel free to use mint leaves, basil leaves, or both; use what you have and what you like.
Have your child assist with the pesto making process. He can pick the mint leaves and add them to the bowl, dump in the seeds, and drizzle in the olive oil. Then when the pesto is ready, remove the blade and then let him taste it. My 3-year-old, Elle, will eat spoonful after spoonful of pesto out of the food processor, but won't touch it once it's on her plate. Strange but true.
Serve the pesto on the side of the noodles, letting your child add as much or as little as she likes.
Add a bit of honey to the pesto to tone down the bitterness.