Presto pesto!

Is there anything that says summer more than fresh homemade pesto prepared with basil straight from the garden? Bouquets of fresh basil are one of my favorite summertime farmers market finds, and if you’re anything like me, there are few things that feel like a sunny summertime moment quite like embracing a big bouquet of beautiful basil and being intoxicated from its bright and bold scent. Mmm… So when I saw that my in-laws’ herb garden was over-flourishing into a massive wild bush, I was more than happy to take a few (and a few more) bunches of basil off their hands.

My easy breezy homemade pesto

But the ever-so-torturesome lactose intolerance. With parmesan cheese as a necessary and prominent ingredient of traditional pesto recipes, my off-the-charts lactose intolerance has often prevented me from enjoying pesto while sampling the endless selection of Italian restaurants in the city. Today, I’d like to share with you a dairy-free pesto recipe, one that is brighter, zestier, and heathier than the traditional recipe and, to me, a true representation of embracing summer eats. Bonus: this recipe is easy breezy!

The recipe below serves four, or, like in my household, two very hungry eaters.


  • Fresh basil, 2 cups loosely packed (remote large stems and flowers)
  • Juice of one and a half lemons (save the left over half in case you want to add more zest to the pesto)
  • Fresh garlic, 3 cloves peeled and roughly chopped (or 1 big clove if you are not a garlic lover like me)
  • Pine nuts, 1/3 cup (sunflower seeds can be a good nut-free alternative)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 cup
  • Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste


  • In a food processor or blender, combine above ingredients and pulse until the ingredients are combined and evenly chopped. If you prefer to mellow out the basil flavor a bit, add a handful of baby spinach to the basil.
  • Slowly drizzle in the EVOO from the top with the food processor or blender on low.
  • Add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • Here comes the key — a recipe should be a reflection of your preferred flavor profile, so don’t be afraid to play with the amount of garlic, lemon juice, EVOO, salt and pepper, until you get the flavors just right to you!

Now it’s time to enjoy! We use this pesto with penne pasta, served with grilled shrimp and a sprinkle of crushed red peppers. But pesto isn’t great with just pasta. Try pouring over kabobs, grilled chicken or fish, or thin out the pesto into a vinegairette by adding more olive oil and lemon juice and serve over grilled asparagus or a salad. So many possibilities!How will you enjoy this easy breezy dairy-free pesto?