This delicious, easy, oil-free pesto is so creamy and flavorful, thanks to sun-dried tomatoes, edamame, and avocado! It's quick enough to make while the pasta's boiling. Mangia!
How can pesto be oil-free and vegan? Since high quality fats are important for achieving a rich, creamy texture, as well as for our health, I feel they are an essential part of a delicious pesto. The key is to replace the fats usually provided by olive oil and parmesan with more nutrient- and less calorie-dense plant-based fats. In this oil-free pesto, I've added in avocado and edamame as replacements and they work so well!
Pine nuts are another rich traditional ingredient, and they can still be used in this recipe instead of the pumpkin seeds. I've chosen the pumpkin seeds, however, because they are far less expensive and can be easier to come by - and they balance the recipe beautifully!
Fun fact: The pasta in the images is pici, an Italian classic that I made by hand. I learned how to make pici at a cooking class in Tuscany, and while it is a bit time-consuming and the result is kind of a wacky pasta (at least when I make it!), it can be a fun, meditative experience. Do you want to learn how to make it? You can contact me to let me know!
These are the things I think you'll love about this recipe:
- quick and easy, can be made in 15-20 minutes; the time it takes to bring a pot to boil and cook pasta
- 8 whole food ingredients
- plant-based, vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, dairy-free
- can be frozen for future meals
- an easy and delicious way to eat more veggies
- high quality, achievable weeknight dinner year-round
- easy to swap ingredients for what you have on-hand
- delicious on pasta, toast, roasted veggies, salad, or used as a dip
These are the ingredients to have on-hand for this recipe
- shelled edamame
- fresh basil
- sun-dried tomatoes, dry for oil-free or jarred
- pumpkins seeds/pepitas
- avocado or guacamole
- nutritional yeast
- garlic or garlic granules
This recipe can be made in the time it takes to cook the pasta!
Start by boiling a pot of water for the pasta (if you're not having this pesto with pasta, use your smallest pot). Once boiling, drop the edamame in and boil for 3 minutes. Use a sieve/strainer to remove the edamame and place it in your blender or food processor. Then, go ahead and cook your pasta, if having.
Add the remaining ingredients to the blender/food processor and blend until well combined. You will likely need the tamper on your high speed blender.
That's it! Toss with pasta or roasted veggies. Also great as a dip or spread.
The following substitutions are included in the recipe:
- avocado substitute: guacamole
- pumpkin seeds: other seeds or nuts - I haven't tried all seed and nut options; theoretically they should be a good replacement, plus fun & tasty to experiment! I've enjoyed walnut and pine nut substitutes so far. Tip: toast nuts to bring out more flavor.
Feel free to try other substitutions if you're missing any ingredients. These are great options:
- kale or other dark leafy green instead of spinach
- frozen peas or other legumes instead of edamame
- more greens instead of basil
The following equipment is required for this recipe:
- Small pot to boil the edamame in. If enjoying with pasta, use the pasta pot before adding the pasta.
- Food processor or high speed blender with tamper to combine the ingredients. Alternatively, you could also try using a mortar and pestle. I find a food processor to be the easiest option.
This pesto freezes well! Place in freezer-safe containers appropriately sized based on the amount you need to serve. I like using glass containers for less waste.
Make a double or triple batch so you can store some in the freezer for busy nights!
Creamy Oil-free Sun-dried Tomato Pesto goes great with:
Creamy Oil-Free Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
- high speed blender with tamper or food processor
- 1 cup edamame shelled and frozen
- ½ cup basil
- 2 ½ cups spinach
- 3 sundried tomatoes dry
- ¼ cup pumpkins seeds I like sprouted pepitas
- 3 tablespoons avocado or guacamole
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic granules or 3-4 garlic cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice about ½ lemon
- ½ cup water
- Boil the edamame: If serving this pesto with pasta, boil pasta water in a pasta pot and cook the edamame in it for 3 minutes prior to adding the pasta. Use a handheld strainer to remove the edamame and place them in your blender or food processor. Then, go ahead and cook the pasta. If not making pasta, use your smallest pot to boil the edamame and strain.1 cup edamame
- Add the remaining ingredients to the blender/food processor and blend until well combined. You will likely need the tamper on your high speed blender.1 cup edamame, ½ cup basil, 2 ½ cups spinach, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 3 sundried tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ cup pumpkins seeds, 3 tablespoons avocado, ¼ cup nutritional yeast, ½ cup water
- Toss with pasta or roasted veggies. Also great as a dip or spread.