This easy artichoke pesto recipe with 5 simple ingredients is vegan, with no added oil, and ready in minutes.
Easy lemon artichoke pesto is the perfect choice for a quick pesto pasta dish, pizza base, pasta salad, bruschetta, and more!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
If you love eating steamed artichokes, the buttery flavor of this pesto recipe won’t disappoint.
Artichokes are incredibly healthy and high in fiber, folate, and vitamin C. They are naturally low in fat, and if you avoid those packed in olive or canola oil, they are a nutritionally dense delicacy.
5 vegan ingredients that are easily accessible. Instead of vegan parmesan cheese, we skipped the fresh basil for parsley and used a combination of garlic, lemon juice, and sunflower seeds.
Unlike traditional pesto recipes (not any of ours, of course), there’s no need to grab a bottle of extra virgin olive oil – we’re keeping things on the light side.
Ingredients, Notes, and Substitutions
Artichoke hearts. Use a can of artichoke hearts in water or a light brine. Avoid those packed in oil or with other added flavors. You can also find artichoke hearts frozen. Thaw, then carry on.
Sunflower seeds. We use toasted pine nuts in classic pesto, but sunflower seeds add a nutty flavor that complements artichokes. If you want to stay nut-free, use hemp or flax seeds as a substitute.
Lemon juice. Add a little lemon zest for a brighter flavor if you use a fresh lemon. Otherwise, add at least 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.
Garlic. Classic pesto benefits from the sharp flavor of fresh garlic – and plenty of it. You can use garlic powder in a pinch, but it won’t have the fresh, zesty flavor you’ll get from garlic cloves.
Fresh Parsley. Fresh herbs give the pesto a vibrant color and flavor. Use either flat-leaf parsley or curly, which is a bit more peppery. Add a few fresh basil leaves and stems if you want a more traditional basil pesto flavor.
Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions.
Instructions and Pro Tips
Chop the garlic into quarters or mince it before blending. This ensures you don’t have large, unblended chunks.
Canned or frozen artichoke hearts have a lot of moisture. Drain them and lightly press the moisture out with the back of a spoon.
How to make artichoke pesto
It’s simple! Add the sunflower seeds to a food processor and give them a few turns to break them up. Then add the rest of the ingredients, start slowly, and let the food processor combine the artichokes with all those flavors. Done and done!
After you make artichoke pesto for the first time, you may want to experiment with different flavors. I already mentioned using fresh basil, but depending on your goals for pesto, you could also consider fresh dill for more of a vegan tuna flavor or a little cilantro with a splash of lime juice for a Mexican-style influence.
If you like a cheesy flavor, add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast. This is delicious when using pesto as a pizza sauce.
Artichoke pesto can be served as a dip with crackers, toasted bread for artichoke bruschetta, or vegetables like broccoli or green beans. It’s great as a spread on sandwiches or wraps. It can also be used as a sauce for pasta or roasted vegetables.
If you are making pesto pasta, use our simple trick. Cook the pasta, al dente, in a large pot of water with a pinch of salt. Before draining, reserve a cup of pasta water. Once you mix the pesto with the pasta, use the cooking water if you need to add more moisture. This keeps the pasta from getting too dry.
Artichoke pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze it for longer storage. Freeze it in the cups of an ice cube tray for smaller servings if desired.
More Pesto Recipes
Easy Artichoke Pesto (Vegan and Oil-Free)
This easy artichoke pesto recipe with 5 simple ingredients is vegan, with no added oil, ready in minutes, and great for making pesto pasta.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 ½ cups 1x
- Category: Dips and Spreads
- Method: Blend
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 - 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained (1 ½ cups)
- ½ cup fresh parsley (flat-leaf or curly)
- 3 cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Add the sunflower seeds to a blender or food processor. Give them a few turns to break them up.
- Add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth.
- Taste and add salt and/or black pepper if desired.
- If using frozen artichoke hearts, thaw and press the moisture out of them before using.
- You can use toasted pine nuts for a more traditional pesto flavor; however, we recommend sunflower seeds or hemp or flax seeds as alternatives.
- Artichoke pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze it for longer storage. Freeze it in the cups of an ice cube tray for smaller servings if desired.
Keywords: easy artichoke pesto recipe (vegan and oil-free)
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