Nut-Free Basil Pesto Pasta in white bowl next to basil leaves.
Dinner Lunch Recipes

Nut-Free Basil Pesto Pasta

Basil Pesto is probably one of the easiest and tastiest no-cook sauces. It’s fresh, nutty, garlicky, cheesy, and creamy. It has it all, like everything you could want in a sauce that doesn’t require you to turn on your stove or oven.

Pesto is also great when you have an absolute frickin’ ton of basil because you’re quarantine garden is actually growing. Say Whaaat?

Yeah, so we have been eating a lot of pesto up in here and we just maybe perhaps perfected a nut-free (because allergies) version without comprising on flavor! Keep reading to learn how we did it.

How to Make Nut-Free Basil Pesto Pasta

Step 1: Start cooking the pasta first because the pesto comes together in no time.

Bring 4-6 quarts of water to a full, rolling boil. Heavily salt the water, and boil 1 pound pasta until it’s al dente or to your preferred doneness. Read my guide on how to cook pasta perfectly every.single.time.

You can use any small pasta shape you like — penne, bowtie, orecchiette. We used penne because that’s what was in the pantry.

Step 2: Combine 2 cups of packed fresh basil, 1/2 cup of parmigiano-reggiano cheese (the real deal, not the stuff from the green can), 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 fat garlic olive, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a food processor or mini food chopper.

Puree all that stuff until it’s nice and smooth.

Basil, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, extra-virgin olive oil, 1 garlic clove, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor with junks of cheese and basil leaves on the counter.

I love using that lil food chopper because it’s so much easier to deal with than a large, clunky PROCESSOR. Don’t get me wrong. They are both extremely valuable kitchen tools.

But the mini chop wins this round because when you’re making pesto you don’t need a giant kitchen tool to get the job done right.

Nut free basil pesto in a white bowl with blue and yellow flowers on it. Basil leaves and parmigiano-reggiano cheese sitting on counter.

So green. So Gorg.

Step 3: At this point, your pesto sauce is done and you could use it for a lot of other things like pizza sauce, top it on chicken, or spread it on some toast. But, friends, we’re making pasta today!

Combine the pasta, 1/4-1/3 cup of the leftover starchy cooking water (to achieve ultimate creaminess), and the nut-free basil pesto sauce.

I may or may not have also added even more cheese when I was mixing everything together because like why not?

Two white bowls of nut-free basil pesto pasta next to parmigiano-reggiano cheese, a cheese grater, and basil leaves.

It’s time to eat, so I’ll see ya later.

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know! Post your food photo in the comments or share it on Facebook or Instagram with #servingupspice.

Nut-Free Basil Pesto Pasta

Basil Pesto is probably one of the easiest and tastiest no-cook sauces. It's fresh, nutty, garlicky, cheesy, and creamy
Cook Time 10 mins
Additional Time 2 mins
Total Time 12 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


  • 1 pound of pasta
  • 2 cups of packed fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 of parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt


  • Boil one pound of pasta in 4-6 quarts of boiling water.
  • Combine the basil, extra virgin olive oil, cheese, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor or mini food chopper. Puree until smooth.
  • Mix the pasta, 1/4-1/3 of the starchy pasta water, and pesto sauce together.
  • Serve.


  1. So, I love pesto. But I don’t want to spend the money on pine nuts (common in most pesto recipes) so I am super thankful to you! I can’t wait to try this!

    1. Pine nuts are so damn expensive! It’s crazy. I’ve seen people use almonds, walnuts, or cashews — if you really want to use nuts in your pesto.

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