Basil Pesto {Without Garlic}

If, like some of my kids, yours aren’t all that keen on very garlicky tasting foods, try this Basil pesto without garlic, it’s a fresh, healthy, easy recipe you can use for a number of things, including some really easy-but-yummy-mid week meals!

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Also see: Pesto Chicken Fettuccine

Basil Pesto With No Garlic

Looking for a way to sneak vegetables into your child’s diet? Um….yes. Of course you are, you’re a parent :)

Pesto is perfect for incognito vegetables. I sneak a whole cup of raw spinach (plus a cup of raw basil leaves) into this dip. And no-one ever asks whats in it. Its “just pesto”. Some of my kids are not garlic lovers (unless it’s on garlic bread…Hmmm) and so I make this without any, and the taste is so vibrant and fresh, the garlic haters are happy and the garlic lovers don’t notice it’s missing.

Because basil is quite a strong tasting herb, I add spinach to subdue the flavor a bit. It works well with younger palettes and the spinach adds an extra iron kick too.

no garlic basil pesto

What Oil Do You Use For Pesto?

I use an extra virgin organic Olive oil to make pesto here. The mild flavor allows the basil to shine through, it’s heart healthy and what’s called a Clean oil. You can use other Clean oils, but I always stick to what I know and use Olive oil.


How To Use Basil Pesto

There are so many ways to use pesto, including the classic stirred through hot pasta classic we all know and love! Here’s our favorite ways to eat pesto:

  • The classic pasta dish – hot pasta, basil pesto stirred through and grated parmesan on top. Yum!
  • In toasted sandwiches – try using the pesto in a cheese and ham toasty
  • Pizza – adding a few dabs of pesto onto a Margherita pizza gives it a huge flavor hit

Cleaning Basil For Pesto

It’s really important to clean your basil leaves will before you make your pesto, especially so if you’re using store bought basil and not basil straight from your garden.

Basil can hold onto quite a bit of sand and gritty pesto’s not nice, plus if it’s loose from the store or market, you’ll want to make sure it’s clean because other people will have been handling it. I’ve heard from a few places that it’s often thought that washing basil removes some of the flavor. I’ve never found this to be the case and besides, it rains sometimes right?!

Give your basil a gentle wash under running water and make sure any visible dirt is washed off, and then gently shake the leaves to get the water off them and leave them to dry.

How To Store Basil Pesto

Once I’ve made this recipe up, I store any leftover Basil pesto in an airtight flip lid jar like this one. I keep pesto in the fridge like this for up to a week, and it’s fine.

You’re also able to freeze pesto. If you want to freeze your leftovers, place it into an ice cube tray and then you’re easily able to take out just what you need and use it. This is great for smaller portions or if you’re using pesto to make a side dish.

More Clean Eating Sauces And Dips

Basil Pesto Without Garlic Recipe


Basil Pesto {Without Garlic}

This kid friendly Basil pesto's full of the good stuff: Heart healthy oils, fresh basil, spinach and Pine nuts. Stir it through pasta for an easy delicious mid week meal.
Course Dips & Sauces
Cuisine Clean Eating
Keyword basil pesto
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 cup


  • ¼ cup Pine nuts
  • 1 cup Basil leaves fresh, firmly compacted
  • 1 cup Spinach leaves fresh, firmly compacted
  • ¼ cup Parmesan shredded
  • ½ cup Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Add spinach, basil and pinenuts to the food processor. Whizz until roughly chopped and combined.
  • Add cheese. Mix again until well combined. This is the stage that you decide on the texture of the pesto. I like mine a little chunky.
  • Pour half the oil into your mix and pulse once or twice. then add the remaining oil and pulse again. Don't over mix. The oil is just there to bind the sauce together.
  • Give your pesto a taste. Add salt and pepper as needed.

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