Sunflower Seed Basil Pesto

Pasta with pesto sauce is the perfect meatless meal, since pesto typically contains both nuts and cheese for protein. But for those with a nut allergy, pesto sauce is usually a no-go. So this recipe uses sunflower seeds instead, which contain a similar amount of protein and healthy fats and even have a bit of a nutty flavor! This recipe comes to us from Diana K. Rice, RD, The Baby Steps Dietitian, who created this recipe in light of her daughter’s nut allergy.

Makes 3 1/2 cup batches (4 servings each)

  • 2 cups packed basil leaves
  • 3-4 cloves garlic or garlic dots
  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 oz. un-grated or 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese*
  • Salt to taste


Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well-combined, scraping down sides as necessary.

Serve immediately over cooked pasta or portion into freezer-safe containers for later use.

*Depending on the saltiness of the cheese you use, you may not need to add salt at all.

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Nutrition Information

Sunflower Seed Basil Pesto

Servings per Recipe: 12

Amount per Serving

Calories:  131

Calories from Fat:  117

Total Fat:  13g

Saturated Fat:  3g

Cholesterol:  5mg

Sodium:  92mg

Potassium:  32mg

Carbohydrates:  2g

Dietary Fiber:  1g

Protein:  2g

Sugars:  0g

Vitamin A:  2%

Vitamin C:  2%

Calcium:  5%

Iron:  1%

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