Nut Free Pesto Pasta for Lunchboxes – My Fussy Eater

An easy pesto recipe that’s nut free. Perfect for packed lunches to send to school or nursery for kids!

Nut free pesto pasta served in a three compartment clear lunchbox along side fresh chopped cucumber,strawberries and sweet rice cakes.

So many kids love pesto pasta. It’s such a quick and easy meal to whip up for them and works really well in a packed lunch too.

However it can be really difficult to find a nut free pesto in the shops or supermarket and so i make my own at home instead.

And honestly I think it actually tastes better!

Close up of the nut free pesto pasta, being eaten with a plastic fork with a rainbow design.

Are Pine Nuts Considered a Nut?

Pine nuts are technically not nuts, they are seeds from the pine tree. But because they come from the tree nut family they are still classed as a potential allergen.

Pine nut allergies are much less common than peanut or other nut allergies but because the risk is still there, most schools and nurseries will still ask you not to send any foods containing pine nuts in a packed lunch.

Fresh basil leaves in  a tea cup.

How To Make Nut Free Pesto

The base of any pesto is of course basil. I use 15 grams of basil in my recipe which is weighed after you have removed the stalks.

I tend not to bother weighing the basil and instead go by a coffee cup measurement. I stuff it full of basil leaves and that works out to be roughly 15 grams each time.

Pesto ingredients added to a food mixer.

Add the basil leaves to a food processor with grated parmesan and a clove of garlic and blitz or pulse just enough until the ingredients are all broken down.

For this recipe I strongly recommend that you grate the parmesan yourself rather than using the pre-grated variety.

Use the large holes on a box grate to grate it. This will give coarse strands of parmesan which, when blitzed in the food processor, will still have that bitty texture that’s so nice in fresh pesto.

Add the oil and the juice of ½ a lemon and blitz again.

What Oil Should I Use To Make Pesto

Most recipes will tell you to use an extra virgin olive oil but as this recipe is for kids I would actually recommend using a regular olive oil instead.

Extra virgin olive oil has a much stronger taste which can be off-putting to children so for me normal olive oil is better in this instance!

Storing Pesto in the Fridge or Freezer

This pesto will keep well in the fridge in an airtight container for 2- 3 days.

It can also be frozen for up to 3 months and defrosted in the fridge overnight.

Lunchbox Recommendation

If you’re looking for affordable lunchboxes then then these Rainbow Bento Style Lunchboxes are a great option.

They come in a pack of six lunchboxes, perfect if you child is always losing theirs!

If you liked this recipe you may also enjoy my Creamy Basil Tortellini Recipe


Nut Free Pesto Pasta for Lunchboxes


An easy pesto recipe that’s nut free. Perfect for packed lunches to send to school or nursery for kids!


  • 15g basil leaves
  • 70g parmesan (coarsely grated)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 150ml olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon


  1. Add the basil, grated parmesan and garlic to a food processor and blitz just enough until everything is finely chopped.
  2. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and blitz again.
  3. Mix a portion with cooked pasta and transfer to a lunchbox.


This pesto will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

It can also be frozen and defrosted in the fridge overnight.

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