Avocado pesto makes a great sauce for hot or cold pasta. It’s also a lovely dip or sandwich spread.
I’m by no means an oil free cook, but since teaching that cooking class at Whole Foods, I’ve been trying to cook oil free once in a while. Pesto is usually made of oil, but this vegan pesto recipe gets its richness from avocado instead.
The big difference between this recipe and a traditional pesto is that avocados are a lot thicker than bottled oil. The lemon juice plus 1 tablespoon of water was enough to get this sauce moving in my Vitamix, but if you have a regular blender, you might need more water. Just add it, a bit at a time, until you reach the consistency you’re going for.
Fat Free vs. Oil Free Cooking
Before we get to the recipe, I wanted to talk quickly about oil free vs. fat free. Oil free cooking isn’t about ditching fats completely. The idea is to avoid processed fats. All bottled oils are processed to different degrees. Makers extract the oil, leaving the rest of the plant behind. Whether it’s cold-pressed, raw, or conventionally made, there is some processing that happens to refine the oil from a plant.
This pesto uses the whole avocado, so you get all of the awesome avocado nutritional power along with the fat. In fact, the fat in avocados helps you absorb some of its most beneficial nutrients, so don’t feel guilty about the fat in this recipe!
I also wanted to stress that I don’t think cooking with oil is necessarily a bad thing, and I’m by no means an oil free cook. Our pantry has many different sorts of bottled oils in it. But when you can make a recipe that’s satisfying without added oils, why not, right? That’s what’s happening with this avocado pesto recipe.
Speaking of, let’s cook, ok? Watch the recipe video at the top of the page, and get the written recipe below!
Oil Free Vegan Avocado Pesto
- 2 Haas avocados peeled, pitted, and chopped
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 4 cloves garlic
- juice of 2 fresh lemons
- salt and pepper to taste
- Put all of your ingredients into the blender, and puree until smooth. You can add water 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed, to get things moving.
- Adjust the salt and pepper, if necessary.
- Serve over pasta, alongside bread or veggies, or use as a sandwich spread.