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Spinach Basil Tahini Pesto

Spinach Basil Tahini Pesto- A dairy free, nut free version of a classic Italian herb sauce. It's perfect as a pasta sauce, a sandwich spread, or a salad drizzle!

April 19, 2021 by Nicole Collins

So, I've been doing some thinking lately.

I know. That can be a dangerous thing.

I had this moment the other day when I realized that the amount of meat I consume these days is very few and far between. And then I realized that when I do eat some kind of meat, it's usually fish or seafood.

And, that got me to thinking...

Could I live the pescatarian life? I tried it for Lent a couple years ago, and all I wanted the whole 6 weeks was a big, juicy burger.

Since then, I've learned that I'm deficient in B12 which is largely sourced from red meat. And that makes perfect sense, because I barely eat red meat. So, I take a vitamin for that now. Which in my mind means it'd be totally ok for me to give up meat completely.

I've been cooking a lot of vegetarian meals lately, as well. And, I kind of love it! I did this poll on my Instagram stories the other day asking if my Insta fam would be into seeing more vegetarian meals, and the response was an overwhelming “YES”! Then, I asked if it mattered if those meals were vegetarian or vegan. I was secretly hoping for a certain response, and I found out why you guys are my people.

Turns out, you guys don't want to give up dairy and eggs either!

I think if I'm being honest, I could never be full on vegetarian. But, that doesn't mean that I can't dabble in more vegetarian focused recipes. Heck, I'm even down to challenge myself to create more vegan friendly recipes.

And, guess what? That's just what we're making today.

Today, we're making Spinach Basil Tahini Pesto!

We're flipping the script a little bit on a classic Italian sauce by ditching the cheese and nuts and replacing them with a special ingredient that really ups the yum factor.

I know...getting rid of cheese and ending up with something even tastier??? Trust me on this one!

This sauce is so easy to whip up. We throw our ingredients in a blender, hit the button, and the recipe is complete. Don't you love easy breezy recipes like that?

Our pesto starts with some of the basic ingredients that you'll see in any basic pesto: basil, garlic, olive oil, and lemon. But, to up the green factor and to add a little extra protein to our sauce, we're going to add a big ol' handful of spinach to the party. The great thing about spinach is that it doesn't have a strong flavor at all. It just tastes fresh and green. And, that's exactly what we want out of our sauce.

Now, traditional pesto recipes call for pine nuts and a whole heck of a lot of parmesan cheese. And, don't get me wrong. I'm all about that cheese life. But I have a few loved ones that have major nut allergies, so I find myself way more conscious about using nuts in recipes. And, that's where our secret ingredient comes in!

Tahini paste!

Tahini paste is just ground sesame seeds. Just like nut butters are simply pureed nuts, it's the same concept. Most people know tahini as a star ingredient in hummus, but it's nutty flavor and creamy texture are absolutely perfect to use as both a cheese and a nut replacement in our pesto recipe! And bonus, we can reduce the oil in our pesto as well, because the natural oils in tahini come in to play here too.

Like I said, once we have all of our ingredients in the blender, we hit the button, and we're done! Now, you can blend this sauce to as chunky or as smooth as you like. I like mine smooth and creamy, so I let my sauce process for probably 30-45 seconds in the blender. If you like your sauce with a little more texture, just pulse it until it's to your liking. You have options!

When it's time to serve, we can use the pesto the same exact way we'd use a traditional pesto. You can use it as a pasta sauce. You can use it as a sandwich spread. You can use it as a salad dressing, a pizza drizzle, a crostini schmear...this sauce is so versatile.

And, bonus! This sauce freezes well. So, you can make a double or triple batch, pop it in silicone ice cube trays, throw it in the freezer, and have a fresh, herbaceous sauce at your fingertips at any moment.

Though it's so easy to make fresh, why not!

Ok, everyone. I can't wait to hear how you guys like to use this sauce. Don't forget to tag me on social media if you make it!

Enjoy, and let's eat!


Spinach Basil Tahini Pesto

Serves: ½ cup Print


  • 1 cup basil, packed

  • 1 cup spinach, packed

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2 tbsp tahini

  • juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tbsp)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp water

  • ¼ tsp salt


  1. Add all ingredients to a small food processor or blender. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Serve!

Recipe notes:

*There are many ways you can use this pesto. Use it as a pasta sauce, schmear it on a crostini or as a sandwich spread, or drizzle it on your favorite protein (chicken, steak, eggs, fish, etc).

*You could easily make a double batch, and freeze some of it in large silicone ice cube trays. Then, you can have a fresh, herbaceous sauce at all times once you thaw it out.

*This is my go to machine for all small batch dressings and sauces!

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