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When you’re attempting a diet that’s as restrictive as an elimination diet you are going to have to give up quite a few things. A couple months into mine I got a strong craving for anything pesto. Unfortunately, traditional pesto is almost exclusively things that are eliminated. Parmesan cheese is dairy, pine nuts are out, the usual exchange of walnuts is out, lemon juice is forbidden. Especially for me, apparently I’m one of the few freaks out there allergic to lemons! This is an allergen friendly pesto recipe that takes away all of those triggers and is safe for phase one of an elimination diet.
This pesto is also completely vegan without the parmesean cheese. It’s really versatile and will be able to serve any of your friends’ picky dietary needs. It’s perfect for company and no one will have any complaints!
If you are also eliminating garlic this recipe will survive without it. If you taste it and it lacks punch add a tsp more vinegar. Overall, I think this pesto tastes a bit earthier than others I’ve tried but it still has that strong basil flavor and beautiful green color. I spread it over boneless skinless chicken breasts and baked at 400 for half an hour. I also tossed it with pasta. But feel free to use it any way you would normally use pesto! Once you introduce more ingredients back into your elimination diet it goes absolutely great on a flatbread or instead of nightshade heavy sauces for pizza! It also of course works for the simple and traditional pesto pasta.
So how in the world do you make pesto without 3 of the main ingredients? Turns out, pretty easily. Just get out your food processor and combine together these simple ingredients. Make sure to use high quality fresh basil. You’ll be using a bunch of it, I like to buy mine from the Korean market, they have much better prices on bulk fresh herbs than the Kroger or other chain grocery stores. Take a look at your local specialty markets.
What’s the difference between basil and Thai basil?
A lot! For this allergen friendly pesto recipe you’re going to want to use Italian sweet basil, not Thai basil. You’ll recognize the wide flat leaves, much rounder than the sharp eddges of Thai basil. Thai basil also has purple stems while Italian sweet basil is all green.
Italian sweet basil smells slightly peppery or somewhat like the spiciness of cloves. Thai basil smells more like anise. This pesto works best with the sweet basil, the leaves are much more delicate and easily blend into a sauce form. I also like to use sweet basil in this Blueberry and Basil Oat Cobbler.
- 2 cups packed fresh basil
- 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp salt (or to taste)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp water, if needed
- Simply blend all ingredients in food processor or blender until smooth
- use on chicken, pasta, pizza, anything pesto!