Oregano Pesto | Make your own homemade pesto sauce. This is an easy recipe that will bring so much flavor to your dishes. Use your homemade oregano pesto for pasta, grilled chicken, or roasted vegetables. You can make pesto without a food processor too, which yields a chunkier texture. This pesto recipe is both nut-free and dairy-free.
I think pesto pasta wins over a red sauce any day, especially if the pesto is homemade. If you want to test my theory, try this homemade oregano pesto recipe with your favorite pasta shape. Bucatini anyone? Farfalle? Gemelli? Oh ya, I'll take Gemelli pasta please with homemade pesto. Forever and ever.
By the way, homemade pesto is one of those recipes that might seem difficult to make yourself but really isn't. You'll just need a food processor, or even a knife and cutting board if you like a chunkier texture to your pesto as I do. The flavor is herby and rich, a little cheesy, a little nutty and the oil helps you take in all of the flavors.
- Why did I use nutritional yeast in this recipe?
- How to make pesto in a food processor
- How to make pesto without a food processor
- How to chop ingredients into very small pieces
- Recipe Tips
- More sauce recipes
- What to use pesto for
- Recipes FAQs
See the recipe card below for exact amounts.
- Fresh Oregano - You'll need a bunch of fresh oregano leaves for this recipe. I grow them, and they grow like wild so I have a lot. I used the leaves from 8 very long stalks. (a good handful of leaves.)
- Oil - I use a 50-50 mix of extra virgin olive oil and mild oil like canola or sunflower. Extra Virgin olive oil can be overpowering so I mix it.
- Garlic clove - For flavor
- Lemon juice - I use fresh lemon juice because I like having fresh lemons on hand for lemon water or Greek potatoes. I'm sure you can use bottled lemon juice.
- Salt and pepper - The usual. For seasoning.
- Nutritional yeast - You can make a vegan pesto by using nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan cheese, which I really like. Feel free to use freshly grated Parmesan cheese instead.
Why did I use nutritional yeast in this recipe?
I like to vary my diet and I now eat less meat and dairy than I used to. Nutritional yeast is a healthy ingredient with lots of B vitamins in it and I like to use it whenever I can.
I love to create recipes and I love recipe challenges, so for that reason, I play around with my diet and recipes frequently!
A food processor, or a knife and cutting board, some time and patience. I use this combo blender and food processor by Ninja linked below.
You can make this recipe in a food processor or by hand with a knife and cutting board. I'll give instructions for both and I've got photos and a video for the food processor method.
How to make pesto in a food processor
To make pesto with a food processor, first add the garlic, oregano leaves, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, sunflower seeds, salt and pepper, and a splash of oil.
Pulse repeatedly to chop up the oregano leaves, sunflower seeds, and garlic clove, and start everything blending together.
Stream the rest of the oil slowly, until you achieve the texture you like. I like a bit of a chunky pesto with texture. If you want a smooth pesto, then just keep blending.
EXPERT TIP: Blend and scrape the sides down, checking the texture often.
How to make pesto without a food processor
To make the pesto by hand, you'll need a sharp knife and a chopping board.
- Mince the garlic as small as you can.
- Chop the sunflower seeds as small as you can.
- Carefully chop the oregano into the smallest pieces you can manage.
- Combine the chopped garlic, sunflower seeds and oregano with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and nutrtional yeast. Stir. You'll naturally have a chunky texture to hand made pesto but I think that's great, it's the texture I prefer!
How to chop ingredients into very small pieces
- Place the ingredients in a tight group on your chopping board.
- Place the tip of the knife on the chopping board and rock the base of the blade down onto the cutting board.
- Repeat, rotating the knife back and forth every few movements.
- You can pause chopping and rearrange the ingredients into a better circle at any time if they start spreading out too much. Begin chopping again and repeat until you are done.
You're going to love this pesto recipe. You can make several substitutions, making it easier to use what you prefer or have on hand.
- Instead of using all oregano leaves, you can make a basil oregano pesto by using half oregano leaves and half basil leaves. You can also use half oregano and half arugula for an oregano arugula pesto. Yum. You can also try spinach or kale.
- For the sunflower seeds, feel free to use the traditional pine nut, or you can try another nut or seed such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds.
- You can swap out the nutritional yeast and use the traditional grated Parmesan cheese instead.
✔ This is a dairy-free pesto recipe. I use nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese.
✔ This is a nut-free pesto recipe. I use sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts.
Store homemade pesto in the fridge in a container with a lid. It will last about a week.
More sauce recipes
What to use pesto for
- In my Tuna Pest Pasta Salad
- Try spreading homemade pesto in a caprese grilled cheese sandwich
- Use it on my Jalapeno Cheesy Swirl Bread before or after baking
- In my Pesto Couscouse recipe (coming soon!)
Oregano Pesto | Nut-free + Dairy-free
- 1 large handful fresh oregano (about 8 tall stalks)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (approximately)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil (approximately)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (or freshly grated Parmesan cheese)
- 1 garlic clove
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- ½ lemon (juiced (about 1 tablespoon of juice))
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- To the bowl of a food processor, add the oregano leaves, garlic clove, salt and pepper, lemon juice, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast and a splash of oil.
- Pulse until the oregano leaves, sunflower seeds and garlic are chopped well.
- Add the oil bit by bit, only adding as much as you need to achieve the texture you like. Blend less for a chunkier pesto (my preference) or more for a smoother, creamier texture.
- Use immediately or refrigerate for about a week.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
Oregano pesto uses the leaves from about 8 stalks of fresh oregano, making it a great recipe to use up a bunch of extra oregano from your garden.
Traditionally, pesto sauce is made with fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, fresh garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. The ingredients are blended together into a smooth sauce.
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast, often sold as flakes. People on vegan diets use nutritional yeast to replicate a cheesy flavor.
Nutritional yeast has a sort of cheesy, savory, nutty flavor. I don't find it overly cheesy in my opinion, but it's savoury and hits the umami taste zone. My most common use for it is on stovetop popcorn.
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