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Tuna Pesto? It’s good. I needed a pesto that was nut and dairy free, and found a way forward from a twist on a pesto recipe that I found in this cookbook, gifted to me many years ago. Featuring some unusual but traditional Italian pasta sauces, one of the book’s recipes called for a can of tuna – which sounded awful, until I tried it. It’s delicious! Merging that recipe with a basil pesto – minus the Parmesan, dairy, and boosted big for fresh lemon – produced my version below.

Most of us are not eating a lot of tuna these days. But I keep this recipe in my rotation on occasion, because it is so easy and fast to make, it’s high protein, high fiber and minerals, offers some good fats, and it’s versatile. It can pair with anything from your favorite pasta to hearty veggies like green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, Romanesco, on a baked potato, or in a soft tortilla (like these delicious grain free tortillas). Use Banza chick pea pasta or Tolerant lentil pasta to keep the whole meal grain free, if you like (Banza has the softer texture of the two). This nut free, dairy free pesto also makes a great dip for veggie crudité or bagel spread – try it with this vegan cream cheese if you can’t use dairy. You can also vary the nut or seed choice; my favorite is organic sprouted pumpkin seeds, and this helps kids in my pediatric nutrition practice who have nut allergies. But, classic walnut or pine nut are wonderful too!

Note: Worcestershire sauce can be tricky to find gluten free, and without stuff like corn syrup – but it is a major piece of the puzzle in this recipe’s flavor. Don’t skip it. Find The Wizard’s brand gluten free, organic, vegan version and keep it on hand for this and other occasions calling for this complex condiment. In the US, Lea & Perrins claims to be GF also.

pesto nut free dairy free
Paleo Tuna Pesto
Print Recipe
An unexpected variation on the usual pesto! If your family tolerates nuts, try this with walnuts or pine nuts. Enjoy tossed with cooked vegetables, a favorite pasta of any type, as a crostini or bagel spread, packable school lunch dip, or rolled up in soft tacos.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
pesto nut free dairy free
Paleo Tuna Pesto
Print Recipe
An unexpected variation on the usual pesto! If your family tolerates nuts, try this with walnuts or pine nuts. Enjoy tossed with cooked vegetables, a favorite pasta of any type, as a crostini or bagel spread, packable school lunch dip, or rolled up in soft tacos.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Start vegetables or pasta that you will be seeing with the pesto: Green beans, or roasted cauliflower, broccoli, potato, or Romanesco work well. Steam, roast, or sear to desired doneness, about 15 minutes. While these are cooking, assemble the sauce.
  2. Place half the olive oil in a food processor. Add the drained tuna, seeds or nuts, lemon wedges of an entire lemon including rinds (washed and seeds removed), Worcestershire, ginger root, and fresh herbs. Slowly add the remaining olive oil, and process until smooth.
  3. Once blended, here is the consistency you're after. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, process to blend.
    tuna pesto in food processor
  4. Toss sauce over warmed vegetables and serve.
    pesto nut free dairy free
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