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Easy Keto Basil Pesto Recipe [Dairy-Free, No Cheese]

Louise | June 27
Easy Keto Basil Pesto Recipe [Dairy-Free, No Cheese] #keto

You can still enjoy tasty pesto within the boundaries of your ketogenic diet. This easy keto basil pesto recipe adds nutritional yeast flakes for a cheesy taste without adding dairy.

What is Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast flakes are typically grown on molasses and then harvested and heated. Despite its name, it is deactivated and won’t grow like baking yeast does.

I learned about this handy little food while watching Dr. Oz some time ago and decided to try it out. It’s pretty popular among the vegan crowd, and has a number of applications for those living keto or paleo as well. Really, anyone who likes good food can find a use for it!

Nutritional yeast has a cheesy, slightly nutty taste. Not surprisingly, many people not following a ketogenic diet sprinkle it on their popcorn.

In this particular keto recipe, I used it in place of Parmesan cheese, which I’m sure my dairy-free friends will appreciate!

Where to find Nutritional Yeast

You may have to dig a little deep here. The larger chain grocery stores may not have nutritional yeast on their radars yet.

Try looking at your closest natural, health, or specialty food store. I tend to find it in the bulk food section. The good news is that a little goes a long way, and you probably won’t have to restock your supply very often.

Other Uses for Pesto

Pesto is fantastic with pasta. You just have to get creative with it when you’re on a keto diet. Check out some recipe ideas here.

Easy Keto Basil Pesto Recipe [Dairy-Free, No Cheese] #keto

Easy Keto Basil Pesto Recipe [Dairy-Free, No Cheese] #keto

Easy Keto Basil Pesto Recipe [Dairy-Free, No Cheese]

  • Author: Louise Hendon
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings (2 Tablespoons per serving) 1x
  • Category: Condiment
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) of olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons (16 g) of pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup (32 g) of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup (8 g) of flat leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Heat one teaspoon (5 ml) of the olive oil in a small frying pan.
  2. Add the pine nuts and chopped garlic into the frying pan and gently fry for a few minutes until lightly golden.  Place them on a plate and let cool for a few minutes.
  3. Then place the basil, parsley, nutritional yeast flakes, the remaining olive oil, toasted pine nuts and garlic, and lemon juice into a mini food processor or blender and blend until a smooth pesto forms. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Store in a sealed jar in the fridge for no longer than 4 days.  Makes 1 x 4oz (120g) pot


All nutritional data are estimated and based on per serving amounts.

Net Carbs: 1 g


  • Calories: 154
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Fat: 17 g
  • Carbohydrates: 1 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g

Louise co-founded Louise's Foods, Paleo Living Magazine, Nourishing Brands, & CoBionic. She has considerable research experience but enjoys creating products and articles that help move people just a little bit closer toward a healthy life they love.