I love pesto, all kinds of pesto, but most store-bought and restaurant pesto sauces have Parmesan cheese or some other cheese added, which means I can’t eat it. Bummer.
Years ago I started making my own dairy-free pesto sauces, sometimes with roasted pine nuts, sometimes with toasted pecans or walnuts, sometimes with cashews, and even with macadamia nuts. I’ve even made sun-dried tomato pesto, and roasted red pepper pesto — and one of these days, I’m going to have to make them all again to share with you!
Now we plant basil in our backyard garden every year just so I can make loads of pesto in the summer.
Dairy Free Cashew Pesto
I had raw cashews on hand to make a fresh batch of dairy-free Cashew Cheese, so I grabbed a handful and tossed them into my NutriBullet with fresh basil leaves, garlic, olive oil, Italian seasoning, sea salt, and black pepper and turned the mixture into a delicious, rich pesto.
I used this Cashew Pesto not only for our Chicken Pesto Zucchini and Carrot Zoodles dinner, but as a topper for Turkey Pesto Burgers on Roasted Red Peppers — which were also fantastic!
I almost tossed out my NutriBullet when I got my Vitamix, and I am so happy I didn’t! Often, when I’m making a small batch of something, like dairy-free pesto sauce, the ingredients don’t have enough mass to work in the Vitamix and the NutriBullet comes to my rescue!
Chicken Pesto Zucchini and Carrot Zoodles
To help workweek meals come together faster, we often barbecue a big batch of barbecue chicken on the weekend, and then use it throughout the week. For this recipe, we used two barbecue chicken breasts and chopped them up into small pieces.
For the Chicken Pesto Zucchini and Carrot Zoodles, I spiralized the zucchini and carrot, cutting the vegetable pasta noodles once or twice every so often to eliminate long pieces that get tangled. I placed the vegetable noodles in a large skillet with a little olive oil and sauted them over medium for about three minutes — they cook way faster than normal pasta.
I then added the chopped barbecue chicken and cashew pesto, mixed the pesto sauce into the noodles until covered, and cooked the mixture over medium heat for another minute or two, or until the chicken was hot.
Then we ate and ate and ate. We scraped our bowls clean and are already dreaming of our next cashew pesto vegetable pasta dish.
Dairy-Free Chicken Pesto Zucchini and Carrot Zoodles
Raw cashews make a rich and delicious, dairy-free basil pesto that is a perfect compliment to chicken and veggie noodles.
- 2 large zucchini, spiralized
- 2 large carrots, spiralized
- 2 chicken breasts, barbecued
- Olive oil
- 1 bunch basil leaves
- 5-6 garlic cloves, pressed
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. Sea salt
- A pinch of black pepper
- Marinate chicken breasts. Barbecue chicken.
- Add basil leaves, garlic, Italian seasoning, sea salt, black pepper, and cashews to a small blender or food processor to make the pesto.
- Spiralize zucchini and carrot. Cut noodles once or twice to eliminate long pieces. Place vegetable noodles in a large skillet with a little olive oil and saute over medium heat.
- Add chopped barbecue chicken and pesto, mix well until combined over medium heat. Serve immediately.