Oregano Pesto From Scratch | Make your own homemade oregano pesto sauce with fresh herbs. This easy recipe will bring so much flavor to your dishes. Use your homemade oregano pesto for pasta, grilled chicken, or roasted vegetables.
You can also make pesto without a food processor, which yields a chunkier texture. This oregano pesto recipe is both nut-free and dairy-free and freezes well making it great for meal prep.
- What is nutritional yeast?
- Do I have to use nutritional yeast?
- How to make oregano pesto in a food processor
- How to make pesto without a food processor
- How to chop ingredients into very small pieces
- Tips for Making Homemade Pesto
- What to use oregano pesto with
- Recipes FAQs
This easy-to-follow homemade pesto recipe combines the vibrant flavor of fresh oregano with the creaminess of a classic pesto sauce, all while staying dairy-free. The result is a versatile condiment that can effortlessly elevate your meals.
Try this dairy-free oregano pesto recipe with your favorite pasta shape for an easy weeknight dinner idea.
I add this fresh pesto to my cold Tuna Pesto Pasta and it's amazing - so flavorful.
Making pesto from scratch seems like a difficult task but it's not. It takes minutes in a food processor and you can even make a very rustic version with 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.
See the recipe card below for exact amounts.
You're going to love this dairy-free pesto recipe. You can make several substitutions, making it easier to use what you prefer or have on hand.
What is nutritional yeast?
Nutritional yeast is deactivated yeast. Its flavor is somewhat reminiscent to cheese with a nutty background flavor, making it perfect for vegan dishes. I use nutritional yeast in this pesto recipe in place of Parmesan cheese.
Do I have to use nutritional yeast?
No, you can use the typical Parmesan cheese. If you're trying to keep it vegan try a vegan cheese product.
I like to vary my diet and I now rarely eat meat and consume much less 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.
You can make this recipe in a food processor or by hand with a knife and cutting board. I'll give instructions for both with step-by-step photos and a video for the food processor method.
How to make oregano pesto in a food processor
- First add the oregano leaves to the jar of a food processor.
- Next, add the garlic, 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.
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 nutritional 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
When chopping the sunflowers seeds by hand for this recipe, it can be a bit tricky. Use the tips below to make the process easier.
- 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, keeping your other hand out of the way.
- 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.
Tips for Making Homemade Pesto
What to use oregano pesto with
Pesto is a flavorful recipe with a variety of uses. For a quick lunch or light dinner try my Tuna Pesto Pasta Salad or Pesto Turkey Sandwich. You can also add spread some homemade pesto in a Caprese grilled cheese sandwich before grilling it.
Want to try a different pesto? Try my Homemade Pepita Pesto.
Store homemade pesto in the fridge in a container with a lid. It will last about a week.
To stop the top of the pesto from turning brown, flatten it out with the back of a spoon and pour a thin layer of olive oil. Just stir the olive oil in when you use the pesto next.
You can also freeze homemade pesto. Spoon tablespoons of pesto into an ice cube tray and freeze until solid. Remove and place in a freezer bag or container. Freeze for up to 6 months.
Oregano pesto uses the leaves from about 8-10 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 savory and hits the umami taste zone. My most common use for it is on stovetop popcorn.
Vegan Oregano Pesto
- 1 large handful oregano leaves (about 8 tall stalks)
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil (canola, light olive oil, or more extra virgin olive oil)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (or freshly grated Parmesan cheese)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (from about half a lemon)
- 1 clove garlic
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- To the bowl of a food processor, add the oregano leaves, garlic, 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.
Nutritional information is an estimate. Values vary based on products used.
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.
This post was originally published September 14, 2021.
SHARE THIS RECIPE
Rating, commenting, and sharing my recipes really helps. Thanks for taking the time! Mention @pipercooksblog on Instagram.