Dairy-Free Spinach & Basil Pesto

I have an allergy to dairy, and so I try to recreate recipes to suit my needs. Traditionally, pesto requires a lot of Parmesan cheese, and so I found the best replacement: nutritional yeast! It has the most amazing cheesy flavour and so I’ve started using it in a lot of my recipes. Food yeast provides vitamin B12, iron, and packs 8g of protein per 1/4 cup. It is gluten free, wheat free, soy free, sugar free, vegan, vegetarian — it can even do a dance if summoned. (Kidding, but it’s basically amazing!)

I also find the price of pine nuts astonishingly expensive, so I substitute sunflower seeds instead. Easy on the taste-buds, easy on the wallet.


  • 2 heaping handfuls of spinach

  • 1 handful of basil

  • 1 clove of garlic

  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine all ingredients except for the olive oil into a blender (food processor works best) and blend as much as possible.

  2. Keep the processor/blender going and slowly add the olive oil until well combined.

  3. Season with salt and pepper and blend until combined.

  4. Enjoy on pasta, sandwiches, eggs — whatever!

Becky Bayda
Becky is completing her education towards Holistic Nutrition and is focusing her research on mental health and sports. She uses her blog to help share her vision and knowledge, which focuses on restoring balance and empowering people through wholesome living.