My garden is overflowing with basil. I'd love to make pesto, but my daughter is allergic to dairy and nuts. Any suggestions for recipes? Thanks!

  • Posted by: WHB
  • September 1, 2014


ChefJune September 2, 2014
You could make a basil, garlic, olive oil puree. that's how I freeze "pesto" and then add whatever else if and when. I often use the puree as is.
Marian B. September 2, 2014
Make basil oil! I've never done it but I'm pretty sure you just blanch the herbs, whizz them with olive oil, and then either strain or save as-is. You can also just blend them with some oil then freeze them in ice cube trays, as you would with pesto, and then defrost when you want a fresh garnish etc.
CarlaCooks September 2, 2014
I often make pesto with sunflower seeds instead of nuts (cheaper and edible to my nut-allergic friends). It's no problem to leave out the cheese; just add more lemon and salt.
Sam1148 September 1, 2014
Here's my stock answer for "too much ____"
Take them to your nearest fire station. Maybe with a "Kit" off other things mentioned in this thread...maybe a pesto kit with pine nuts, garlic cloves, noodles, and good cheese; with a printout of a recipe and a packaged bread mix for fresh bread.
Plus it's a great way to meet a fireman without setting your house on fire.
Abby R. September 1, 2014
I make a pesto that's 2 cups basil, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 1/4 cup hemp hearts, 1/2 clove garlic, a pinch of salt, and 2 Tbsp olive oil. It's super tasty, and the hemp hearts add a protein boost! And sometimes I throw in a pinch of sugar for a sweeter aftertaste :)
Susan W. September 1, 2014
This sounds delicious. It will join my other herby concoctions in my freezer. :)

Voted the Best Reply!

klrcon September 1, 2014
Deconstruct it! This is the pesto I grew up with and I still do it this way today because it really gives you the full basil hit. Just make your pesto with the basil, garlic and olive oil - you can toast pine or other nuts and pass them at the table, along with the cheese, for those without food issues, but your daughter can enjoy the pesto right along with the rest of the family. It also freezes better this way.
Susan W. September 1, 2014
Both pine nuts and cashews are both seeds. Some people are allergic to nuts and seeds, so I am certainly not suggesting you experiment, but it is good to know.
dinner A. September 1, 2014
From what I've read, while botanically pine nuts and cashews (coconuts as well, actually) are seeds, they are much more likely to trigger an allergic reaction in someone with a "tree nut" allergy than other seeds, like sesame or sunflower for example. It gets more complicated really, because many people with an allergy to "tree nuts" are allergic to a more specific subset of foods (i.e. including pine nuts but not almonds perhaps) but haven't narrowed it down for various reasons.
Susan W. September 1, 2014
Yes, that's why I qualified my comment with some are allergic to both and it certainly isn't something to experiment with.
dinner A. September 1, 2014
Vietnamese noodle salad (aka bún) is best when topped with tons of herbs, including basil. Here are instructions for making it:

I know I've heard of people using seeds instead of nuts in pesto -- I would probably try lightly toasted sunflower seeds first. My mom makes a great vegan pesto that does have a bit of nutritional yeast to add umami flavor instead of cheese -- just go slow when you add it, because the flavor can quickly become overwhelming. Also, I think lemon and salt are particularly important to balance the flavors without cheese.

Similar to what Meaghan F suggested, but with maybe a higher ratio of basil to fat -- you can puree fresh basil leaves with a little oil and freeze it in little dollops or cubes, and use to get fresh basil flavor in the winter.
Susan W. September 1, 2014
I had an overflow of basil, thyme and rosemary. I used my cuisinart and buzzed some basil with oil and some with water. I have a tiny freezer so I put it all in zip lock bags. I froze the thyme and rosemary as is. Now I just break off whichever herbs I need. I am making short ribs today, so I'll use all three. I've never frozen herbs before. It works great.
aargersi September 1, 2014
Maybe a batch of basil vinaigrette, also I like basil leaves torn or chopped roughly in salad. You could make a pasta with garlic, olive oil and basil and maybe some nutritional yeast as a parmesan sub ... that would give you a pesto-esque experience. Hmm, maybe make pesto with yeast instead of nuts and cheese?
Susan W. September 1, 2014
Yes!! Nutritional yeast has a flavor reminiscent of cheese. I never thought to use it in pesto. I love the stuff.
drbabs September 1, 2014
Make a basil- based salsa verde (sub basil for the marjoram and/or parsley in this recipe:

Or a basil gremolata.
Meaghan F. September 1, 2014
Dry it out for use in the "off season," infuse some olive oil, make compound butter and freeze for future use... Or all of the above if you have enough!
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