I’ve been on a big pesto kick. Pesto on everything. It just adds so much flavor and it’s fantastically easy to make. Just add everything into your food processor and blend it up. Usually in the summer I make pesto out of whatever I have on hand. Luckily basil thrives in the warm sun because Colorado is sunny this time of year. I have way more basil than I know what to do with. This quick sunflower arugula pesto blends up in just a few minutes. Pesto easily gets high calorie as most recipes and store bought varieties use a ton of oil. Skip the extra calories and make your own oil free sunflower arugula pesto.
Sleep well knowing your delicious sunflower arugula pesto is free of unnecessary oils but also tastes delicious. Following a whole food plant based diet ala Caldwell Esselstyn/ John McDougall has it’s challenges. I will never give up salt but I do try to limit consumption of vegetable oils. I definitely have trouble giving up oils completely because sometimes you just want a damn french fry. Eating out would become a horrible nightmare because it seems like literally everything comes in contact with some type of oil. I try to make good choices while eating out with friends and families and if I want something that’s vegan junk food once in a while I eat it. However when I cook for myself at home I always adhere to not eating oil as long as it doesn’t completely ruin the taste of the dish. Sometimes pasta needs a little olive oil for flavor. Sometimes my rice bowl need a drizzle of sesame oil. I need my meals to taste good or I’ll end up blacking out and realized I’ve steam rolled through 2 sleeves of Oreos. This pesto is perfectly delicious without oil. It’s creamier and denser than traditional pesto so I recommend adding a bit of water when mixing it into things. For example if I’m having this sunflower arugula pesto with pasta then I keep a bit of the pasta water reserved to help combine everything when I mix the pesto in. The dense texture is perfect for spreading. I love this pesto in sandwiches and wraps.
This pesto could not get any easier. Arugula and basil comprise the green base. Arugula is a little bitter but once blended into the pesto tastes mostly green. The sunflower seeds are mild and a little sweet. Nutritional yeast takes the place of typical hard cheeses and tofu replaces high calorie vegetable oils. And of course garlic. I love garlic, especially in my pesto but if you don’t feel free to reduce the amount of garlic to just one clove instead of two. Just blend everything up and spread over everything. I like sunflower arugula pesto mixed into sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and chilled pasta for a Mediterranean inspired salad or piled on top of an open-faced veggie burger.
For a different kind of no oil pesto try my Vegan Avocado Pesto
This easy, no-oil pesto is beautifully green and bright thanks to a base of arugula and basil. Sunflower seeds & garlic round out a versatile vegan pesto.
- 2 cups arugula
- 1/4 cup basil
- 3 tbsp unsalted raw sunflower seeds
- 1 tbsp silken tofu
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup water
Place all ingredients aside from water into a food processor. Puree, adding water as you blend, until all ingredients are incorporated and pesto resembles a paste. Add more water a tbsp if needed to thin.
Feel free to use any firmness tofu you have on hand. I've used silken to extra firm and any will work.