This pesto recipe is simple and delicious, and a little bit different than traditional pesto. I’ve made this yummy pesto and some sweet tomatoes to serve with Onda Pasta, a local pasta company with Italian roots.
Onda Pasta is based here on Oahu, and you can find their artisan pastas in the Oahu Fresh marketplace and at the Kakaako Farmer’s Markets, along with select local stores. Each week the Founder Andrea Onetti makes a variety of pasta like gnocchi, campanelle, fusilli, tagliatelle and penne, which is what I used in today’s recipe. Fresh pasta is totally different than the dried, boxed noodles you’ll find on store shelves. It’s softer before it’s cooked, and more dense and chewy once cooked. Onda Pasta is excellent, and I hope you’ll try some soon!
My nut-free and dairy-free pesto is awesome. Most pesto recipes contain parmesan cheese, and usually pine nuts, which are super expensive! My easy vegan pesto uses nutritional yeast to replace the cheese, and uses sunflower seeds to replace the pine nuts, along with a bit of tahini to make it super creamy.
You’ll need a food processor (recommended) or blender for this recipe, and it can easily be doubled or tripled to make extra for bigger meals or for freezing for later.
Simple & Delicious Nut-Free Vegan Pesto
½ cup sunflower seeds
2 cups packed fresh basil
1 cup packed fresh kale
½ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons tahini (optional, but yummy)
½ teaspoon salt (more to taste)
8 ounces fresh pasta of choice
8 ounces currant or cherry tomatoes
Cheese or vegan cheese for garnish
- Add sunflower seeds to processor and grind until fine.
- Add all remaining ingredients and blend until smooth, adding a 1-2 Tablespoons of water if needed to smooth the texture.
- This pesto turns out really thick and creamy (even more so if you use a blender). If you want it thinner, add a few Tablespoons more olive oil or water, stirring until it’s the perfect texture.
- You can keep leftovers for up to a week, but cover with a layer of olive oil to keep the bright green color. Basil always darkens when stored, but it still tastes great!
- To cook the tomatoes: add 1-2 teaspoons olive oil to a skillet. Warm over medium low heat.
- Slice tomatoes in half (or leave whole), and add to skillet. Let cook until mashy and blistered. Add a pinch of salt and set aside.
- Cook pasta according to directions. Divide among serving bowls, stir with pesto, top with tomatoes, and garnish with cheese of choice.
Yield: about 1 cup of pesto and 2 servings or so of pasta