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Easy Garlic Free Pesto Recipe (Low FODMAP)

Feature, Low FODMAP & Gut Health Recipes | December 23, 2022

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This low FODMAP pesto is both garlic free and delicious – yes it’s possible to be both! It’s also so quick to whip up – it only takes 5 minutes! I love to serve my garlic free pesto with all kinds of different low FODMAP foods and it even freezes well to use at a later time. You can’t beat the convenience!

When I think of pesto, I immediately think of two things – basil and garlic. Almost every store bought pesto product will contain both. Garlic in particular can be a problem for those who follow a low FODMAP diet as it contains fructans, a type of FODMAP that commonly contributes to bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and/or bowel changes in those with IBS.

Building Up Your ‘FODMAP Basics’

When following the low FODMAP diet, it’s a great idea to make batches of some key FODMAP basics. This can really make your life easier. It is especially helpful to have alternatives for sauces, spice blends, and seasonings that commonly contain high FODMAP ingredients. Add this low FODMAP pesto to your FODMAP friendly arsenal alongside garlic-infused oiltaco seasoning, low FODMAP tomato sauce, and delicious dips like low FODMAP tzatziki and hummus.

Is basil Low FODMAP?

Yes, although garlic isn’t FODMAP friendly, basil is low FODMAP. There is 3/4 cup of basil in this recipe, but you could easily add extra if you want a more herbaceous flavour.

A clay colored bowl filled with green pesto and a lemon garnish sitting on a marble countertop beside a white and green dish cloth. A text box reads 'easy garlic free pesto recipe'

Can you make pesto without basil?

While pesto is traditionally made from basil, it can be made with other fresh herbs as well. This recipe would also be excellent with parsley, cilantro, tarragon, or even dill. I love dill everything, so that last one sounds amazing!

Can you make pesto without nuts?

Absolutely! Most pesto recipes utilize either pine nuts or walnuts for pesto’s signature nuttiness. However, you can omit walnuts from this recipe and instead use pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds. For a smoother pesto, you could also omit nuts & seeds completely. I would suggest adding a few extra tablespoons of parmesan if you do decide to skip nuts or seeds.

What can you eat garlic free pesto with?

Pesto is such a versatile addition to many different foods! I typically think of pesto as a way to flavour my favourite pasta dishes, but it has so many other uses! Here are some other ways to add garlic free pesto to low FODMAP meals:

  • Spread it on top of baked or grilled chicken or fish – it would be great with our low FODMAP lemon herb chicken
  • Mix 1-2 tablespoons into sauteed shrimp with a bit of extra oil or butter. It would also be great with these low FODMAP shrimp skewers
  • Use it as a base layer on a gluten-free flatbread – add low FODMAP toppings like shredded chicken, zucchini, red peppers, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes and bake it in the oven!
  • Turn it into a salad dressing – add some extra oil and a bit of red wine vinegar to thin out the consistency before mixing it with some fresh salad greens. It would make an excellent addition to this salmon salad bowl!

Storing Homemade Pesto: Can you freeze pesto?

If you plan on eating your garlic free pesto right away, it can last in the fridge for up to one week. However, if you don’t plan on eating it ASAP, it is also a great thing to freeze. For convenience, I suggest freezing small portions in ice cube trays or snack-sized freezer bags so you can pull some out whenever you want! If you choose the ice cube tray method, transfer the frozen cubes to an airtight container or freezer bag once they’re frozen.

a clay colored bowl filled with green pesto and a lemon garnish sitting on a marble countertop beside a white and green dish cloth
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Easy Garlic Free Pesto Recipe (Low FODMAP)

Add some fresh flavour to your favorite low FODMAP dishes with this quick and easy garlic free pesto recipe. Made with walnuts, fresh basil, and green onions, you won't even miss the typical garlic flavour of store bought pesto!
Prep Time5 mins
Course: Lunch/ Dinner, seasoning, Side Dish
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Lactose, Low Salt
Keyword: dressing, lactose free, low fodmap, no cook, no garlic, sauce
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup packed basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp walnut pieces
  • 1/4 cup green onions (green tops only)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 1.5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or garlic-infused oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor or high speed blender. Blend on high until mostly smooth with some small chunks. You may find you need to stop to scrape down the sides of the blender during this process.
  • Serve with your favourite low FODMAP foods – try it spread on a sandwich or served with some brown rice pasta. Enjoy!

Notes

Optional adjustments:
  • Love spice? Try adding some diced jalapeno in! 
  • For a more complex flavour, try adding some sundried tomatoes. A serving of 3 sun-dried tomatoes per person is considered low FODMAP.
  • Want to make this pesto dairy free? Replace the parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast instead.

a clay colored bowl filled with green pesto and a lemon garnish sitting on a marble countertop beside a white and green dish cloth
Marlee Hamilton
About the Author

Marlee Hamilton

Marlee Hamilton is Ignite's Dietitian Team Lead. She is licensed in both Alberta and Ontario and sees patients virtually. Her specialty is working with patients who have unique and complex health concerns, particularly digestive disorders like IBS, SIBO, and IBD. She has also written an insulin resistance cookbook for PCOS patients and loves empowering people who struggle with this condition. Her realistic and actionable approach helps her patients thrive with small steps toward their big goals.

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