Pumpkin Seed Pesto

June 22nd, 2010 at 11:11 am

Before I get to today’s recipe for Pumpkin Seed Pesto, I want to let you know about my guest post today at Diane Eblin’s wonderful blog, The W.H.O.L.E. Gang. Earlier this spring, Diane hosted an amazing 30 day post series called 30-Days to a Food Revolution, inspired by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Diane invited guest bloggers from all across the web to share their recipes and tips intended to get us all in our kitchens cooking up real, whole foods while we cut out the processed, unhealthy stuff.

I enjoyed following along for the 30 days and learning of many new bloggers out there who are, like me, passionate about real food. When Diane announced that she would be continuing the 30 Days to a Food Revolution series one day a week for however long she could, I eagerly contacted her to jump on board and join in the revolution!

Be sure to check out my post and recipe at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang today. While you’re there visit Diane’s 30 Days page to catch a glimpse of all the other amazing bloggers, tips, and recipes shared in the past few months.

Now, on to the pesto. One of the ways that I’ve learned to “doctor up” real foods like vegetables and whole grains over the years is by serving them with a variety of condiments. The same old steamed green beans, boiled potatoes, or buttered brown rice noodles can get really old really fast. (Trust me…I’m speaking from experience here!) But when you toss them with a fresh salsa or warm chutney—or, in this case, a brightly flavored pesto—plain noodles or red potatoes suddenly taste incredible, new, different.

With herbs in abundance this time of year, pesto is my go-to condiment of choice. This recipe yields a pesto thick enough to slather like guacamole on rice cakes or corn tortillas for a snack. You can also thin it out with a bit of the starchy cooking water from boiled brown rice pasta and then toss it with the noodles, top them with some chopped tomatoes, and there you go—instant delicious dinner!

I’ve yet to try this, but I think blending up a few tablespoons of the pesto with my homemade hummus (or even plain store-bought) would be outstanding. Two of my favorite things—pesto and hummus—in one delicious dip. [Note to self: try this soon!]

Pumpkin Seed Pesto – makes about 1 cup of thick pesto

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas), toasted*

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup packed fresh basil

1 cup packed fresh parsley

2 scallions, roughly chopped

2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

3 tbs. water

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Combine seeds, garlic, basil, parsley, and scallions in a food processor fitted with the S-blade. Process until all ingredients are finely chopped, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula if needed.

Add oil, water, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Puree until the pesto is thick and smooth, again scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed. Refrigerate until ready to use, or up to 3 days.

*To toast pumpkin seeds: place seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Shake pan every minute or two, or stir the seeds around with a wooden spoon. Toast in this manner for 3-4 minutes until seeds begin to brown lightly, pop, puff up, and become fragrant.


This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tueday.

Update 8/13: post linked to “Basil Week” at Friday Foodie Fix.


  1. You did a wonderful job over at Diane’s, Hallie! As far as this recipe, I adore pesto, but hadn’t thought of using pumpkin seeds … brilliant! It looks absolutely lovely and totally delicious, too. :-)


  2. Brianna said on June 22, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Yum–sounds great and I’m not even a big pesto person!

  3. What a great idea! I was just looking at my bag of pepitas in the fridge the other day, wondering what I could do with them. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Hi Hallie

    Love your website which I discovered yesterday! I’ve already printed out the Grain-Free Granola Balls and Pumpkin Seed Pesto recipes and can’t wait to make them.

    Yours in delicious gluten-free, dairy-free eating in style,

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