Best Substitute for Pine Nuts in Pesto and Other Recipes

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Finding a substitute for pine nuts can be a game-changer for those with nut allergies, budget constraints, or simply a desire to try something different. Whether you’re crafting a mouth-watering pesto or another dish that calls for pine nuts, this guide is for you. Did you know that you can substitute sunflower seeds for pine nuts? They offer a similar texture and nutty flavor without the high cost.

pesto recipe without pine nuts

Why Look for Pine Nut Substitutes?


Pine nuts are technically seeds, but they can cause allergic reactions similar to those caused by tree nuts. Finding a pine nut replacement is essential for those with nut allergies.


Pine nuts can be expensive. Seeking alternative to pine nuts can help you create delicious dishes without breaking the bank.


Sometimes, pine nuts might not be readily available in your local grocery store. In such cases, knowing pine nut substitute ideas can save your recipe.

Best Pine Nut Substitutes

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are a fantastic non-nut pine nut substitute. They offer a similar texture and a slightly nutty flavor, making them perfect for pesto.


Walnuts are a popular pine nut replacement in recipes. They provide a rich, buttery flavor that complements many dishes.


Cashews are another excellent pine nut substitute in cooking. Their creamy texture works well in pesto and other sauces.


Almonds can be a great pine nut alternative ingredient. They add a delightful crunch to your recipes.


Pistachios offer a unique flavor and vibrant color, making them a suitable pine nut replacement option for both savory and sweet dishes.

Recipe: Sunflower Seed Pesto

Below is a detailed recipe for making pesto using sunflower seeds as a substitute for pine nuts.

Yields4 servings
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Calories per Serving200


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Step 1: In a food processor, combine basil leaves, sunflower seeds, Parmesan cheese, and garlic. Pulse until finely chopped.

Step 2: With the food processor running, gradually add olive oil in a steady stream. Continue to blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Step 3: Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Step 4: Use this pesto as a sauce for pasta, a spread for sandwiches, or a dip for vegetables. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

NutrientAmount per Serving
Total Fat18g
Saturated Fat3g
Total Carbohydrates4g
Dietary Fiber1g

Watch this video to learn more about 11 Pine Nut Substitutes For Pesto (Or Any Recipe):

Kitchen Equipment Needed

  • Food processor
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Spatula
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Mixing bowl

How to Store Leftovers

Store any leftover pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. For longer storage, you can freeze the pesto in ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer the pesto cubes to a freezer-safe bag and store them for up to 3 months.

Food Pairings

This sunflower seed pesto pairs wonderfully with pasta, grilled chicken, or as a spread on crusty bread. For a refreshing drink, try a chilled glass of white wine or a sparkling water with lemon.

Using a substitute for pine nuts can open up new culinary possibilities while accommodating dietary needs and preferences. Whether you’re making pesto or another dish, there are plenty of delicious pine nut alternatives to explore. If you enjoyed this recipe, please share it with your friends and subscribe to our blog for more tasty ideas!


Q: What is a substitute for pine nuts in a recipe?
A: Sunflower seeds, walnuts, cashews, almonds, and pistachios are all great substitutes for pine nuts in various recipes.

Q: What other nuts can you use in pesto?
A: Besides pine nuts, you can use walnuts, cashews, almonds, and pistachios to make a delicious pesto.

Q: What can be used for pine nuts?
A: Sunflower seeds, walnuts, cashews, almonds, and pistachios can be used as alternatives to pine nuts in many recipes.

Q: Can sunflower seeds substitute for pine nuts?
A: Yes, sunflower seeds can substitute for pine nuts. They provide a similar texture and nutty flavor, making them an excellent choice for pesto and other dishes.

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