Nut-free basil pesto

I love pesto but shop bought varieties can have a very high salt content, which means it’s not actually as healthy as you might think. (See this article).

We all know salt is something we should avoid in our children’s diet so by making your own pesto you can watch exactly what goes in it and it taste so much fresher too.

My pesto uses only the natural salt content of the parmesan and additionally I have replaced the traditionally used pine nuts with toasted breadcrumbs instead.

Pine nuts are actually seeds but they are still high on the list of food allergies, so I thought I would make a ‘nut-free pesto’ suitable for babies.

I also find pine nuts are quite expensive so this makes this pesto also much cheaper to make!

This pesto will keep for a few days in the fridge, so if you double the ingredients in the recipe below you can use it for a few different meals. You could try my mozzarella and pesto pita pizzas or having it with some chicken but of course it’s always nice with pasta.


Makes about 100ml

25 g toasted bread, chopped

25 g fresh basil leaves

1 small garlic clove, chopped

20g grated Parmesan cheese

About 60 ml extra virgin oil

A squeeze of lemon juice

Put the toasted bread, basil, garlic and grated cheese into a food processor.

Blitz to a paste then slowly add the oil until you get an oozy consistency.

Scrape the pesto into a jar and season with a squeeze of lemon juice.


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