Delicious traditional Pesto reinvented for low carb Paleo and Ketogenic diets. This Pesto is dairy-free, free of any vegetable oils, and packed full of healthy fats, including macadamia nuts and olive oil. It’s Vegan, no cheese (you will not miss it one bit).

Pesto originates from Italy. The thick green sauce is traditionally used as a dip or spread. That’s how I use it too – my family loves it smothered on my Grain-free Pizza Crust or my Cauliflower Pizza Crust. Pesto typically includes Parmesan cheese and pinenuts. I make mine sans cheese and use macadamia nuts for a truly rich and creamy result.

This Pesto can also be made with parsley, cilantro, or even kale and spinach in place of the basil, or in place of half of it. You can also use different nuts of your choice, such as walnuts or pecans in place of the pumpkin seeds. Do make sure you are using raw nuts. Even better use nuts that are soaked and dehydrated.

I really don’t miss the cheese in my cheese-less Pesto. It stands up to any cheesy pesto in terms of flavor. If you do eat and enjoy cheese, and are not on a Paleo diet, go ahead and add up to ½ cup of Parmesan to this recipe and see how you like it.

I make this Pesto using a high-powered blender (another job for my favorite Blendtec) however a food processor works just as well.  With either appliance you will have to stop a couple of times and scrape down the sides, but it is still very quick and easy to make.

Print Recipe
0 from 0 votes


A simple vegan pesto that is perfect for a low carb Paleo or Keto diet and packed with greens.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Appetizers, Main Dish, Snacks
Servings: 8
Calories: 136kcal


  • 1-2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves or cilantro, parsely
  • 1 cup kale or spinach
  • 2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds lightly toasted
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts or cashews
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1/8 tsp salt


  • Place the basil, kale, garlic, pumpkin seeds, macadamia nuts, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor and process until finely chopped.
  • While the motor is running, gradually add the olive oil and process until combined.
  • Season to taste with the sea salt.
  • Use right away or transfer your pesto to an airtight glass jar, cover with thin layer of olive oil and store in a refrigerator.


Get creative and try using a mix of basil and parsley or cilantro with this recipe.  My favorite combo is an equal mix of basil and cilantro.  It’s delicious and so nutrient rich with the added greens like kale and spinach. This pesto will keep for about 1 week in your fridge.  If you want to freeze it, just put the Pesto into a small glass jar. Freeze for up to 3 months.


Calories: 136kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 41mg | Potassium: 104mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1153IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg