This Pumpkin Seed Pesto is a magical green sauce that's fresh, zesty and flavorful. The best sauce for your pasta, pizza or anything Italian!
This Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pasta proves that pesto doesn’t just have to be a summer thing. Instead of using pine nuts like in a traditional pesto recipe, try using pumpkin seeds. And try swapping most or all the basil for leafy greens like kale!
Ingredients to make pumpkin seed pesto
- Kale: Kale is a great nutrient dense food rich in vitamins A, K, B6 and calcium that subs in for some of the basil.
- Basil: Use fresh basil for that unmistakable pesto flavor.
- Pumpkin seeds: Use roasted and unsalted pumpkin seeds for this nut-free pesto
- Parmesan cheese: It’s best to use freshly grated parmesan as it’s richer in flavor and less dry. You can use pre-grated for convenience.
- Garlic: Use freshly garlic for the best flavor.
- Lemon juice: Use freshly squeezed juice rather than bottled.
- Salt and pepper: For seasoning.
- Oil: Use a good quality olive oil, and extra virgin if you can, and drizzle it in to emulsify the pesto.
How to make pumpkin seed pesto
If you’ve never made a pesto at home before, you’re going to love the taste of this fresh homemade recipe. My basic pesto recipe has more classic ingredients, which include basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and parmesan cheese. But this version is nut-free and made with kale for added nutrients.
Add all the ingredients except for the olive oil to a food processor or blender. While the motor is running, drizzle in the olive oil to emulsify the dressing.
Pesto pronto….you’ve got a bright green garlicky flavor bomb sauce ready to top your favorite pasta. I recommend tossing it with warm pasta immediately so that it clings to the pasta more easily.
Tips to make pumpkin pesto
- Add more olive oil to remedy any dry pesto. Make sure to do this while the food processor is running to allow the olive oil to emulsify and create a looser texture. Just blend until you reach your desired consistency.
- Thin out pesto with pasta water if you’re using it as a sauce. I usually keep my pesto thicker so that it’s more versatile as a spread. But when adding to pasta, the starchy pasta water is a great way to thin out the pesto sauce.
- Freeze the pesto in ice cube trays. The frozen ice cubes can be added directly stirred into pasta and you can easily use just what you need this way.
Frequently Asked Questions
Transfer your pumpkin pesto to and airtight jar and it will keep well in the fridge for up to a week. Tp keep it fresh, pour a little oil on top of the pesto to stop it from oxidizing.
Pesto will keep frozen for up to 6 months. It can be defrosted overnight in the fridge to use.
Pesto is a really versatile pasta sauce, and can be stirred into long pasta like spaghetti or linguini or short shaped pasta like penne or farfalle. The pesto is gluten-free so it’s great to use with a GF pasta like corn, red lentil or chickpea.
For more pasta dishes:
- Pesto Spaghetti with Shrimp
- Hummus Pasta
- Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
- Arrabiata with Shrimp
- Garlic Shrimp Pasta
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Pumpkin Pesto Pasta recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pasta
- 2 cups kale destemmed and torn into pieces
- ½ cup basil
- ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds roasted
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese plus more for serving
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons lemon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 16 ounces pasta of choice for serving
- In the bowl of your food processor, place the pumpkin seeds, kale, basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pulse until combined and thoroughly blended.
- With the processor still on, slowly pour the olive oil and blend until everything comes together well.
- Toss the cooked pasta of choice with the pesto. Sprinkle extra parmesan cheese and enjoy!