I love taking regular recipes and healthifying them. I don’t think that’s a real word, but you get the idea. It’s so satisfying when you can use healthier ingredients and have it taste even better than the original! Pesto is something I love because it’s so versatile and easy to make. You can have it on pasta (gluten free of course), as a dip with veggies or crackers, or on salmon. Although it’s not too unhealthy in the first place, if you want to forgo the cheese without compromising on the taste, you may think you don’t have any options. But there is a solution – nutritional yeast!
Nutritional yeast has a great cheesy flavour all the B Vitamins – great to increase your energy! That includes B12, which is normally found exclusively in animal products. It’s also a complete protein source containing all the essential amino acids, and it’s rich in minerals including chromium, magnesium and zinc. And did I mention it tastes awesome? 🙂
Another great benefit to making your own pesto is that you don’t have to stick to the traditional pine nuts. Don’t get me wrong, pine nuts are great, but very expensive. Here are some other alternatives. Pick one or a combination.
A great source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, and great for brain health.
High in antioxidant Vitamin E, and a concentrated source of monounsaturated fats that help promote a healthy heart.
Also a great sure of Vitamin E, and rich in magnesium which helps maintain a healthy immune system, reduce stress, and is anti-inflammatory.
Herbs and Greens
I love basil, and this recipe is great with just basil, but here are some other options you may not have considered, and you can change it up depending on what you have in the fridge. Here again you can choose a combination. I like to mix it up with herbs and leafy greens. Basil, cilantro and kale make a tasty and super healthy combo! But pick your favourites, mix it up, and let me know what you like best!
Cilantro is one of those herbs you either love it, or you hate it. I happen to LOVE it! Lucky for me (and you too if you’re a cilantro lover), because cilantro has so many amazing health benefits! It’a a powerful natural cleansing agent that helps with detoxing heavy metals from the body. It’s also a great antioxidant, can help prevent anxiety, improve sleep quality, and is anti bacterial and antimicrobial.
Parsley helps boost the immune system and is high in Vitamin K which helps promote bone strength. It’s also high in iron and has a high fibre content.
Spinach & Kale
Leafy greens have so many health benefits and are low in calories, high in fibre and loaded with antioxidants. A great addition to pesto!
Delicious Dairy Free Pesto Recipe
- 1 cup nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans or a mixture)
- 1 large bunch of herbs/greens (basil, cilantro, spinach, kale)
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4-5 cloves garlic
- Add all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth.
- Add to your favourite gluten free pasta, as a dip with crackers or raw veggies, on salmon, or however you like.
Let me know your favourite combinations in the comments below, or any questions you have. I love and appreciate all of your feedback :). And feel free to share on social media with the links below. Many thanks in advance!
About Leanne Weaver
Holistic Nutritionist & Founder of Radiant Botanics
Leanne is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Iridologist, Reiki Level 2 practitioner and wellness speaker and writer. She has spent 20 years in the corporate world as an engineer and project manager while pursuing her true passion—holistic wellness. What started as an interest in green smoothies and wellness turned into a dedicated, life-changing journey.
She is a First Class Honours graduate of the Toronto Institute of Holistic Nutrition and founder of Radiant Botanics, a line of chakra-based spiritual skincare that combines natural ingredients with intentional affirmations.
She desires to help people feel radically, radiantly healthier and happier.
Leanne resides in Mississauga, Ontario with her dog Bailey. They enjoy hiking on the weekends, kayaking, stand up paddling, and remaining present.