This Avocado Pesto Recipe takes just 5 minutes to throw together and is vegan, gluten-free, AND oil-free! It’s packed with fresh herbs, roasted pistachios, creamy avocado, and more!
The first time I tried avocado pesto, I was at a friend’s house for dinner. They were serving pork chops with pesto and zoodles. Um, yum! The pesto was soooooo creamy and I needed to know why. I was BLOWN AWAY when they informed me that the pesto was made with avocado. What?!
Creamy, fresh, and delicious FLAVOR BOMB? Yeah, I knew I needed to make my own avocado pesto recipe immediately.
I love using a combination of fresh herbs in pesto. You’re not just limited to the classic basil!
- Basil and Cilantro – the perfect blend of herbs for this recipe. Both are so fresh and add such different flavors. Feel free to use parsley or all basil if you’re not a fan of cilantro.
- Garlic – adds a nice nutty taste.
- Pistachios – I used roasted and salted pistachios.
- Avocado – makes the pesto extra creamy and allows us to keep this recipe oil free.
- Lemon Juice – provides the pesto with a bit of tanginess.
- Nutritional Yeast – gives the pesto that salty “cheesy” flavor like parmesan does, just without the cheese!
- Water – more or less depending on your preferred thickness.
- Salt – more or less to taste. I like more. 😉
How to make
- Place all your ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth!
- Serve and enjoy!
Is pesto healthy?
This avocado pesto recipe is definitely healthy! This is a lightened up version of a classic that’s packed healthy fats and fresh herbs. No oil, no cheese, but plenty of flavor!
1/4th of the entire recipe has only has 124 calories, 9 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of protein.
Traditional pesto is made quite a bit of oil and parmesan cheese. So it’s not the worst thing ever, but not the healthiest thing ever either, which is why I LOVE this avocado pesto.
Can you use dried basil instead of fresh basil?
I don’t recommend using dried basil for fresh basil. It won’t create the same flavor or texture. If you can’t find basil or it’s too expensive, simply replace with equal parts cilantro, parsley, spinach, or even kale! You’ll likely need to play around with the seasonings.
Then, if you’d like to add in a little dried basil for flavor, that’s fine.
Do you eat pesto hot or cold?
Pesto is great hot or cold. It depends on what you eat it with. Serve it cold on a fresh green salad or hot on a bowl of pasta with roasted veggies. Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy it:
You can use just about anything in pesto as long as you have an herb, a nut, and a fat!
- Herbs. Try parsley, less or more cilantro, or less or more basil. You can even try spinach, kale, arugula, or mint. The flavor will be different but they’re all so good.
- Nuts. Try toasted walnuts, pine nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, etc.
- Citrus. Use lime juice instead of lemon!
- Nutritional yeast. If you’re not vegan, feel free to use parmesan cheese.
- Fat. If you’d like to bulk up your pesto even more, try adding in a few swigs of extra virgin olive oil.
What to serve with avocado pesto
I LOVE this avocado pesto served over a bed of zoodles (zucchini noodles) or regular pasta, but it’s really good with anything. 😉
Here are some of my all time favorite recipes to serve with this healthy avocado pesto sauce!
- Pesto Pasta Salad
- Pesto Risotto with Roasted Chicken and Veggies
- Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- Portobello Mushroom Burger
- Homemade Pizza
- Grilled Shrimp
- Roasted Veggies
It’s also delicious on grilled chicken, pork chops, and even mixed into mashed potatoes!
How to store
Store this avocado pesto in a mason jar or an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months!
Creamy, fresh, and healthy deliciousness! Eat up!
Avocado Pesto Recipe
Equipment for this recipe
- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves about 2 (3/4 oz) packages
- 1 cup packed cilantro leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup roasted salted pistachios
- 1 (5 1/2 oz) avocado
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoons water or more if you want a thinner consistency
- 1/4 teaspoon salt plus more to taste (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
- Place basil, cilantro, garlic, pistachios, avocado, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, water, and salt into a high powered food processor.
- Process together until well combined.
- Taste and re-season and enjoy!
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.
This post was originally published June 5, 2017 and has been updated to provide more detailed content.