Pumpkin Seed Pesto

One of the unfortunate things for kids with nut allergies is that they miss out on so many great recipes they would probably love, were it not for their bodies' adverse reaction to nuts. We here at weelicious are constantly experimenting with different kinds of seeds as nut substitutes in some of our favorite nut-based recipes, so allergic kids don't have to miss out.

I love pestos. They're great as spreads for sandwiches, on fish or chicken, mixed with your favorite pasta or simply roasted. However, most pestos contain nuts, which obviously rule them out for kids with allergies or as something you can put in your little one's lunch box if they attend a nut-free school. After a lot of trial and error, I found pumpkin seeds (or pepitas) to be a great nut alternative in this recipe. Pumpkin seeds seem to be everywhere this time of year -- it being Halloween and all (or HalloWEEn as we like to call it here!). Pumpkin seeds have great flavor and, like the nuts they are replacing, are a great source of protein, minerals and provide essential polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Whether your kids have nut allergies or just attend a nut free school, there's no reason they have to deprived of great taste. This Pumpkin Seed Pesto is perfect for the holidays, simple to make and simply delicious!


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Pumpkin Seed Pesto (Makes about 1/2 cup)

Prep Time: 0 mins Cook Time: 0 mins

egg free

nut free

gluten free


  • 1/2 Cup Pumpkin Seeds (pepitas), hulled
  • 1/4 Cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1 Cup Cilantro, Parsley or Basil
  • 1/2 Tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 Cup olive oil


1. If using raw (green) pumpkin seeds, place them on a baking sheet and toast for 10-15 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until golden. If using toasted/roasted pumpkin seeds you can skip this step.
2. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.
3. Serve on pasta, fish, chicken or a spread on sandwiches.
* For a dairy free version use 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and 1/2 cup olive oil (instead of 1/3 cup).

To freeze, place in ice cube trays or baby food cubes and freeze for up to 3 months.
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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.

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  • Becky

    Thank you so much for another nut substitution recipe. They are all very much appreciated (as we have a child with a tree nut allergy) and all super yummy! Keep them coming!

    leave a comment

  • Radhika

    When adding this to pasta, do i neeed to cook this sauce? can i make it hot with the pasta?
    Does the olive oil need to be Hot or something before it is added to the mixture?

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    • Catherine

      Just toss it with the hot pasta and it will warm through :)

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