Oil-Free Avocado Pesto

avocado pesto

Is there anything that screams “summer” more than pesto? Ok, some may argue barbecues, boating or ice cream scream “summer” a little louder. But in that argument, I’ll be holding strong with pesto.

Last weekend at the Farmer’s market, I bought some beautiful bunches of pesto basil at my favorite organic stand. While I do have some favorite go-to vegan pesto recipes, most call for oil. Those that don’t use oil call for tofu to get a creamy texture. And while I’m not soy-free, I do try to provide as many soy-free recipes for my readers as I can, for those who are. So I wanted to make a pesto without oil and without soy. And since most vegan pesto recipes call for nutritional yeast as well, I thought I would leave that out, too, to create something a little off the beaten pesto track. With these parameters in mind, I decided to make my first foray into the world of avocado pesto — a creamy confluence of buttery avocado and aromatic basil.

This pesto sauce recipe makes enough sauce to liberally cover about a pound of spaghetti pasta. Should you want your sauce on the lighter side, add slowly to the pasta and use the leftover sauce as a dressing or dip — it is delicious in either form. Or, for those true pesto lovers out there, feel free to go all-out and add it all.

avocado pesto

The one thing about this recipe is that, like many avocado dishes, it does tend to “turn” in color the longer it is kept. Therefore, I would suggest making this one “to-order” — though I have to admit I did eat some less flattering-colored leftovers of this and didn’t die.

Apparently, I am a big pesto lover. Here are some other pesto recipes I’ve posted on this site over the years:

Avocado Pesto: 

Serves: 4


1 lb. gluten-free pasta

2 ripe avocados

1 bunch fresh basil, washed

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon organic unpasteurized miso paste (use chickpea miso to keep soy-free)

2 tablespoons raw sesame tahini

2 small cloves garlic (or 1 large clove)

1 teaspoon sea salt


1. Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and no avocado chunks remain.

3. Pour sauce over cooked pasta and toss to combine. Serve immediately for best presentation.



  1. says

    Beth –
    We made (almost) this the other night, and it was delicious.
    We’re not quite as “free” as you are, so we did put in some Parmesan and Romano, some pine nuts, and we used white wine vinegar rather than the lemon juice.
    Still, the whole idea of using the avocado as an oil substitute is genius.


  2. Beth says

    Charlie — Glad I could be of inspiration! I know I’m not the first to do an avocado pesto, but as a equal parts guacamole and basil pesto lover, it’s always been something I’ve wanted to try and make for myself. I’m sure the variations/possibilities are endless!

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