It’s time to celebrate all things summer with this bright, flavorful No-Oil Spinach Pesto Dressing recipe!
Probably the hardest thing I endured when starting my nutritarian lifestyle over 5 years ago were the oil-free, low-salt dressing options.
I tried a few recipes from Eat to Live, but at that early transition stage, my taste buds just weren’t recovered enough to enjoy those flavors–and I disliked almost every dressing recipe I tried.
My goal with Hello Nutritarian is to be the help and knowledge base that I so desperately needed in those early days adopting this lifestyle. And if there was one thing I was in desperate need of circa January 2013, it was a good salad dressing!
I’m so happy to share my favorite salad dressings here with you. These are the oil-free, low-salt dressings that I dreamt up to cure my cravings for bright, flavorful, savory flavors:
And I’m so, so happy to include this No-Oil Spinach Pesto Dressing recipe into that savory-dressing portfolio!
Turns Out These Pine Nuts Do Taste Different!
Pine nuts were the inspiration for this No-Oil Spinach Pesto Dressing recipe!
No matter what kind of pine nuts you use, according to Dr. Fuhrman, they are nutrient-powerhouses:
- high in vitamins K & E
- they contain phosphorus, zinc, non-heme iron, and manganese
- they have a distinctive type of polyunsaturated fat that has been shown to curb appetite in women by increasing secretion of satiety hormones
An appetite-curbing nut? Sign me up yesterday!
But, apparently, not all pine nuts are created equal.
Dr. Fuhrman goes on to explain the extra health benefits of specifically Mediterranean pine nuts:
- lower in calories than other pine nuts
- they have a more-favorable omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, almost ten times higher than other pine nuts
- contain high levels of cholesterol-lowering phytosterols
- have more than twice the protein of other nuts, including other pine nuts
Dr. Fuhrman explains how they look different, how they’re grown different and how their nutritional content is different than the varieties sold in the US.
So, I set out to see if they TASTED better too.
Once I saw Dr. Fuhrman’s Pine Nuts go on sale in his shop I grabbed a batch to put them to the test against the ones I normally find at Trader Joe’s (originating from Korea, Russia or Vietnam) or Costco (product of China).
In my very un-scientific taste-test, I used a sampling of Kirkland brand, Trader Joe’s and Dr. Fuhrman brand pine nuts and had my hubby, my mother-in-law and myself do a blind tasting.
Every single one of us preferred Dr. Fuhrman’s Pine Nuts!
So if you’re feeling like splurging on the “good stuff,” take it from me, it’s completely worth it in taste alone and the extra nutrition is an added bonus!
But you certainly don’t need extra-special pine nuts to make this No-Oil Spinach Pesto Dressing happen…
Use absolutely any raw pine nuts you happen to have available to you–this dressing is still going to taste amazing and be amazingly healthy for you too!
Bright n’ Light
There’s just nothing better than a good pesto dressing…
I swear it’s a instant mood-elevator!
And this nutritarian recipe ditches the health-derailing oil and dairy and just leaves you with the purest essence of basil, lemon and savory seasonings.
Spinach mellows out the finish and provides the loveliest vivid green–plus I’m a nutritarian, if I could, I’d throw spinach into everything (oh, wait, I kinda already do)…
Taste & Texture
This No-Oil Spinach Pesto Salad Dressing recipe has a classic pesto flavor profile but the consistency is decidedly that of a salad dressing.
If you want this as more of a traditional pesto-sauce consistency then you’ll want to reduce the liquids by about half.
Yes, It Does Look Like a Green Smoothie That You Can Pour All Over Your Salad
But I promise, it doesn’t taste like one.
A fact my five-year-old daughter found out the hard way when she snuck a taste-test from the Vitamix bowl before I could stop her–lol!
Okay, I fully admit that this pesto dressing could end up being the greatest fake-green-smoothie-prank ever but I’ll leave it up to you to ponder your next April Fool’s Day victim…
How to Use This Dressing
I’ve found the best veggie compliments to this dressing are crispy, crunchy and sturdy veggies like:
- red cabbage
And, of course, you can’t go wrong with the classic flavor combination of fresh tomatoes and basil!
If you make a batch of this No-Oil Spinach Pesto Dressing, be sure to give this No-Oil Pesto Baked Potato Kale Salad Recipe a try too–they were literally made for each other!
No-Oil Spinach Pesto Dressing
This bright, savory and easy-to-make dressing uses no oil and no nutritional yeast and is perfect over a fresh crispy salad with crunchy veggies!
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup packed baby spinach leaves
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tsp. white miso paste
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- pepper to taste
Add all the ingredients into your high-speed blender cup and blend until smooth.
Stores well for 10 days in a glass Mason jar.
To make more of a traditional, thicker pesto sauce, reduce the water and lemon juice by half.
If you give this No-Oil Spinach Pesto Dressing recipe a try I’d love to know what you think–please leave a rating and comment below!
The material is so clear and attractive. Thank you for making it available. I have read a few of Dr. Furman’s books but never got a clear answer on how much dressing to use on a salad. I have a tendency to binge on the dressings. Is there a guidline? Have I missed it?
I usually go by 1/4 cup for a 3-cup salad (including toppings) or 1/3 cup for a 4-to-5-cup salad (including toppings)!
Great question!! And you’re right Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t really say.
Hi Kristen – Looks good. How long does it keep?
It stores well for 10 days in a glass Mason jar!
Hope you give it a try!
First of all and for my first post here, a big thank you for packing and putting Dr Furhman’s advises into well explained recipes but being oversea I find sometimes difficult to turn cups of whatever into grams, especially since a cup of herbs is not a cup of seeds or nuts. in Europe we are used to use grams for everything.
would you mind to put the equivalent in grams into your recipes ? I know it might look like I am too lazy but I am sure lots of ppl will benefit from this little attention.
that said, do not change anything you are great and inspiring !
Thanks so much for reviewing the pesto dressing recipe! And I’m so happy to hear you are finding the site helpful!
I hear you on US UK conversions! I’m hoping to hire someone to help me next year and then I think that could be something I could actually have the time to do! So, duly noted and I will see what I can do in the future!
Where can I find the white mismo paste in a store?
Hi Sarah, it is usually with the cold condiments like pre-made sauces, salsas and dips. In Whole Foods they have an end cap refrigerator that has small batch pickles and sauerkrauts and that’s where they keep it. At other places I’ve seen it with salad dressings and tofu.
Do you think the pine nuts could be replaced with chickpeas? If so, would the dressing still last as long in the fridge?
I think that would work and the shelf life would be the same–garbanzos last a long time as well. The lemon also helps with longevity so it should be fine!
If you give that substitution a try please let us know how it worked out for you!
I love this recipe. I started eating Nutritarian three weeks ago and I needed this!
I’m SO thrilled to hear that, Kelli!!
Thank you much for sharing this delicious recipe! I have been putting it on EVERYTHING! Tofu eggs, salads, veggies. Love it and it has been a lifesaver now that I’m on my fourth week of being nutritarian and needed a little extra flavor. Thanks for sharing your great recipes:)
Hi Kelli! YAY! I’m so happy to hear that you’re loving this dressing recipe! And huge congratulations on being 4 weeks into your nutritarian journey–wishing you all the best!
Can you substitute something for the white miso paste?
Hi Frances, I haven’t done any substitutions for this recipe but I imagine it would work with salt to taste if you’re not nutritarian and liquid aminos with a bit more nutritional yeast if you are following the plan. But again I’m not definitive on either of these as far as flavor and consistency goes.