The Whole Smiths

Whole Eating + Happy Living

paleo pesto

For some reason, recreating a paleo (or simply dairy-free) version of this herby sauce always seemed out of the realm of possibility when I first started cleaning up my diet. I mean, wasn’t that nutty, briny, salty parmesan the key to making a pesto pop? It’s just one component of the recipe but when there’s only 5 ingredients… well, could it really be done?

I’m happy to report that the answer is a voracious, “Hell yeah!”. I can’t even tell the difference and you won’t be able to either. But I couldn’t simply just omit the parmesan (or pecorino), I needed to replace it with something else that would give me the same flavors. And with that thought process I came up with the ultimate… secret ingredient.

It’s come to my attention that you guys love secret ingredients as illustrated by the popularity of my Pumpkin Pie Smoothie and Kale Pizza Chips. What’s not to love, right? Without further adieu I bring you the secret ingredient in my paleo pesto… salted cashews! Yep. Saltiness? Check! Nuttiness? Check! Creamy, sweetness? Check and check!

And there you have it folks, the secret to making a dairy-free pesto (that’s also Whole30 compliant) taste just like the real thing. I’m pretty sure Padma and even Giada wouldn’t notice.

If you’re looking for something yummy to make with this I’d recommend my Sweet Potato Chicken + Pesto Bites (that will be added later this week). I also frequently add this recipe to my eggs in the morning or use it to dip fresh cut veggies in at lunch. And for the true pesto lovers, I even have a Pesto Mayo that’s sure to knock your socks off.

Enjoy getting your newest favorite condiment on my friends!

Perfect Paleo Pesto from the Whole Smiths. Dairy-free and tastes like the real deal. You won't believe what the secret ingredient is! Whole30 compliant as well.

paleo pesto recipe dairy-free
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

paleo pesto

A dairy-free, Whole30 compliant pesto.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 min
Total Time6 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Paleo Whole30
Servings: 4 -6
Author: the Whole Smiths


  • 2 C. basil
  • 1/2 C. olive oil
  • 1/4 C. salted cashews
  • 1/4 C. toasted pine nuts
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • salt to taste


  • Add all ingredients into a blender and pulse until combined. Not too chunky and not too smooth.

the whole smiths

Paleo Pesto Pinterest Graphic

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Condiments, Paleo, Recipes, Whole30

Note: I only work with companies and products that I feel passionately about and that align with the Whole Smiths’ views and that this post contains sponsored content. While I am compensated for the work I do, my opinions and bad jokes are always 100% my own.

8 thoughts on “paleo pesto

  1. Hi! Where do you find salted cashews that are W30 compliant? The ones I find have peanut oil or another non-compliant oil.

  2. I always make your Whole 30 mayo, but I need to use Avocado Oil instead. I’ve tried with different brands of Olive oil and it just doesn’t work. Can I use any olive oil for the Pesto? Really trying to avoid another waste here 🙂

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