Pepita Basil Pesto will be your new favorite go-to condiment. Made with fresh ingredients, this pesto is the perfect addition to everything from pasta and pizza to sandwiches and grilled meats.
Why this recipe is so good
Pesto is one of my favorite ingredients. It's so easy to make and is full of fresh, bright flavor. This pepita pesto is made with pepitas in place of pine nuts and the result is absolutely delicious!
Pesto only requires a handful of ingredients. And many of them can be easily substituted based on what you have in your pantry.
- Fresh basil - Basil is traditional in pesto, but spinach, arugula, or kale can also be used.
- Nuts - I used roasted and salted pepitas in this pesto. Pepitas are a "hull-less" seed from certain varieties of pumpkin. Pine nuts, which are traditional in pesto, and walnuts are both great options.
- Olive oil is traditional, but you can also use avocado or grapeseed oil.
- Garlic - Garlic adds tremendous flavor. Adjust the amount to suit your personal taste.
- Parmesan cheese - A classic addition to pesto for its salty bite. You can also use Romano or Asiago cheese.
- Lemon juice - Don't skip the lemon juice! The acid adds a brightness that rounds out the pesto.
- Salt and pepper round out the flavors - season to taste.
Grab your food processor and whip this up in three easy steps:
- Add the basil, pepitas, and garlic to the bowl of a food processor and blend until finely chopped.
- Add the lemon juice and Parmesan and blend to incorporate.
- With the food processor running, drizzle the oil in, blending until the mixture has a spreadable, spoonable consistency. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Ideas for using pesto
Once you try this pesto, you will be reaching for this green gold over and over again.
- Drizzle over a freshly baked pizza.
- Stir into mayonnaise for a bold sandwich spread.
- Toss with roasted vegetables like this Pesto Cauliflower.
- Stir into jarred pasta sauce to give it a homemade taste.
- Add to scrambled eggs to jazz up your morning meal.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
No, they are not the same thing; pepitas are the seeds of pumpkins and pine nuts are the seeds of pine trees. Pepitas can be used as an inexpensive substitution for pine nuts while still providing a sweet mild flavor.
Absolutely! Just try this recipe for the delicious answer.
Try pesto with walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans, macadamia nuts, or pumpkin seeds (pepitas). Choose what you love or have readily available.
To view the web story for this recipe, check it out here.
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Pepita Basil Pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil (packed)
- ¼ cup pepitas (roasted and salted (Note 1))
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese (shredded)
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- ½ large lemon (juiced)
- ½ cup olive oil
- salt (to taste)
- pepper (to taste)
- To the bowl of a food processor, add the basil, pepitas, and garlic. Process until finely chopped.
- Add the parmesan and lemon juice and blend to combine. Drizzle in the oil with the processor running and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- Substitute pepitas with walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans, macadamia nuts, or pine nuts. Choose what you love or have readily available.
- Yields 1 ½ cups.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.
This post was originally published in May 2020 and has been updated.