RecipesSauces - Condiments - Dressings

Summer Zucchini Pesto (Vegan & Oil-Free)

posted by Melissa Huggins June 28, 2017 16 Comments
Are you up to your ears in garden zucchini yet? How about a fresh-tasting Zucchini Pesto to help you get through it? It's quick, easy, oil-free, vegan and delicious!

Are you up to your ears in garden zucchini yet? How about a fresh-tasting Zucchini Pesto to help you get through it? It’s quick, easy, oil-free, vegan and delicious!

Are you up to your ears in garden zucchini yet? How about a fresh-tasting Zucchini Pesto to help you get through it? It's quick, easy, oil-free, vegan and delicious!
You know, I wish I can say that I’m growing the garden of my dreams, but things aren’t going as planned. I really want to have that green thumb, but my plants seem to hate me. Well, except for my bell peppers…they really love me this year, and I have a colorful selection of them everywhere. However, my neighbors, THEY have the garden of MY dreams, and it’s overflowing with fresh fruit and vegetables. I get to see it EVERYDAY from my kitchen window. On the positive side, I get to enjoy the fruits of their labor (literally). They are always dropping off a basket of goodies for us, and around this time of year, they start loading us up with zucchini. I don’t mind at all, because I love making zucchini boats, zucchini corn fritters, zoodles and this zucchini pesto!

Are you up to your ears in garden zucchini yet? How about a fresh-tasting Zucchini Pesto to help you get through it? It's quick, easy, oil-free, vegan and delicious!
My healthy addiction

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a total pesto addict. I’m in love with the zesty, garlicky and cheesy flavors. I pile it on everything from, soups, salads, sandwiches, pizza, pasta and more. Traditional pesto is made with lots of olive oil, and although I’m not oil-free, I don’t like to overdo it. Especially, because I eat a hefty serving of pesto almost daily. So, I learned how to make a tasty oil-free version with the classic flavors that I love. It’s not exactly the same, but I feel so much better eating it without the oil. It’s just as tasty too!

Making zucchini pesto wasn’t my clever idea, I was inspired by this recipe on Epicurious. It’s not a vegan recipe, but I loved the idea. I typically use avocado for pesto (like in this avocado pesto pasta), but zucchini seemed like a nice change. The results were fantastic! It had such a nice texture and the freshest taste. I’ve been hooked ever since! It takes less than 15 minutes to prepare too. My kind of recipe 🙂

Are you up to your ears in garden zucchini yet? How about a fresh-tasting Zucchini Pesto to help you get through it? It's quick, easy, oil-free, vegan and delicious!
Pesto without cheese?

Yes siree, it’s possible! You don’t need dairy to have a cheesy tasting pesto. Just add a little nooch (a.k.a nutritional yeast) and you’ll be in pesto heaven! Nooch is a straight-up vegan miracle for foodies and it should be in everyone’s pantry. If you’d like to learn more about it and how to use it, check out this article by Cadry’s Kitchen.

So there you have it… a healthy, vegan, and oil-free version of the well-known classic. Go enjoy it…guilt free! I know I will 😉

* Click photo to Pin *

Are you up to your ears in garden zucchini yet? How about a fresh-tasting Zucchini Pesto to help you get through it? It's quick, easy, oil-free, vegan and delicious!

I’d love to hear from you

If you make this Zucchini Pesto, I’d love to hear what you think. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs so I don’t miss it.

5 from 1 vote
Are you up to your ears in garden zucchini yet? How about a fresh-tasting Zucchini Pesto to help you get through it? It's quick, easy, oil-free, vegan and delicious!
Print
Summer Zucchini Pesto (Oil-Free & Vegan)
Prep Time
15 mins
 

Are you up to your ears in garden zucchini yet? How about a fresh-tasting Zucchini Pesto to help you get through it? It's quick, easy, oil-free, vegan and delicious! 

Course: Sauce, Spread
Recipe Type: Gluten-Free, Oil-free, Vegan
Servings: 7
Calories: 78 kcal
Author: Melissa Huggins
Ingredients
  • 1 cup basil leaves , tightly packed
  • 1 cup zucchini , peeled & diced
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice , freshly squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast , more to taste
  • 1-2 cloves garlic , more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt , more to taste (or preferred salt)
  • Fresh cracked pepper , to taste
  • 3-4 tablespoons water
Instructions
  1. Add all the ingredients (except the water) to a blender or food processor. Pulse for 10-20 times to combine and chop. Add the water as needed, and keep pulsing until you've reached desired consistency. I prefer my pesto with texture, but if you want it smooth, just blend on high for 30-60 seconds. Taste for seasoning and add more as needed. 

  2. Store in airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. 

Recipe Notes

* Sometimes zucchini can be bitter. Give it a taste before using it in the recipe. 

* Yields about 7-8 ounces 


Nutrition Facts
Summer Zucchini Pesto (Oil-Free & Vegan)
Amount Per Serving (1 ounce)
Calories 78 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 9%
Sodium 168mg 7%
Potassium 156mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 4.3%
Vitamin C 6.9%
Calcium 1.2%
Iron 4.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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16 Comments

Jen June 30, 2017 at 7:36 am

Is there a substitute for pine nuts? I try to avoid them because they are high in lectins.

Reply
Melissa Huggins June 30, 2017 at 8:39 am

Hi Jen, yes, you can use walnuts or sunflower seeds. I’ve seen it made with cashews too, but I haven’t tried it yet. Have a great weekend!

Reply
Trish July 6, 2017 at 3:32 pm

This recipe looks fabulous! I love pesto but don’t make it often due to the high oil content. I won’t eat that much oil so your recipe has come to the rescue! Can’t wait to try this. Thank you!

Reply
Melissa Huggins July 10, 2017 at 7:16 pm

Thank you, Trish! The oil was a big deterrent for me too. Now I can eat pesto all the time. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week 🙂

Reply
Trish July 25, 2017 at 4:02 pm

Reporting back: An incredible light taste that bursted with summer freshness! And an added huge bonus – NO added oil! Made with lovely whole plant based foods. Can’t thank you enough for a great tasting pesto that’s healthy! THANK YOU!

Reply
Melissa Huggins July 29, 2017 at 2:05 pm

Hi Trish, thank you so much for sharing your feedback! I’ve been making so much of it this summer. I love that it’s healthy too! Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

Reply
Emily August 6, 2017 at 11:35 am

Can I use an arugula/spinach mix instead of basil?

Reply
Melissa Huggins August 7, 2017 at 3:23 pm

Hi Emily, I haven’t tried it myself, but I have seen pesto recipes that use arugula and spinach. It’s worth a shot. I’d love to hear how it turns out for you (if you make it). Thanks for stopping by 🙂

Reply
Cadry August 7, 2017 at 8:32 am

What a great way to use zucchini! When I first went vegan, there’s a salad dressing I used to make with zucchini. It adds a nice creaminess without overwhelming with its own flavor. Thank you for including a link to my nutritional yeast post!

Reply
Melissa Huggins August 7, 2017 at 3:08 pm

Hi Cadry, oh yum, a dressing with zucchini sounds delish! I must test that out. I love your nutritional yeast post because it’s so informative and can help a lot of newbies out 🙂

Reply
Lori August 26, 2017 at 4:56 pm

This is sooooo good!, I have made it over and over again and it tastes so fresh and alive! Sometimes we put it on zoodles and, oh my goodness, it is a little bit of heaven!

Reply
Melissa Huggins August 27, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Thank you for making it and sharing your feedback. It means a lot to me. I’m so happy you liked it. I’m a pesto addict so I’m happy to have a healthy version to eat. Have a great Sunday ????

Reply
Danielle September 7, 2017 at 5:15 am

Can this be frozen?

Reply
Melissa Huggins September 7, 2017 at 9:26 am

Hi Danielle, I have frozen pesto before, but I haven’t tried freezing the zucchini pesto yet. I’m going to make another batch soon and I’ll give it a try. I think it should work fine though.

Reply
Autumn November 11, 2017 at 2:15 pm

Can I use cooked zucchini?

Reply
Melissa Huggins November 11, 2017 at 3:55 pm

Hi Autumn, I haven’t tried it but I think it could work with sauteéd zucchini. Just enough to lightly brown them. You might have to use less liquid in the recipe too. I hope this helps. I’d love to hear how it turns out for you. 🙂

Reply

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