Nut-Free Basil Pesto

Sam Icklan, Project Bread

School Lunch

School Lunch Recipe

Nut-Free Basil Pesto

Instead of relying on pine nuts, which are expensive and are problematic for those with nut allergies, this pesto gets its nutty flavor from roasted chickpeas. Be sure to make a whole batch of the roasted chickpeas so you have extra to serve as a side with another meal or on the salad bar. You can use this pesto for any number of dishes, from pizza to pasta, chicken or fish, or in a Caprese salad with mozzarella and fresh tomatoes. It also freezes really well, so go ahead and double the recipe and you’ll have plenty on hand for the next time it’s on the menu!

YIELD: 64 servings, 1 oz portions


1lb fresh basil

1 ½ cup olive oil

¼ cup garlic confit (if using raw garlic, use 1/8 cup fresh minced garlic instead)

½ cup roasted chickpeas

½ cup low-sodium Parmesan cheese, grated

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

½ Tbsp Kosher salt

½ tsp ground black pepper


  1. Fit a food processor with a steel blade. Working in batches if needed, add basil to food processor and with machine running, add oil in a drizzle.
  2. Add garlic and roasted chickpeas and any remaining oil. Process until smooth.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in cheese, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pesto can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.


Calories 53 calories Saturated Fat 0.83 g Sodium 45 mg Carbohydrate 0.67 g

* nutrient data and allergen information may vary depending on the specific ingredients and equipment used in your location.

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