Parsley Basil and Pumpkin Seed Pesto with Pasta

‘Pepitas’ is the Spanish term for Pumpkin seeds, which literally means ‘Little seeds of Squash’. Pumpkin seeds are snacked on like peanuts in Mexico and Spain and are also very healthy. Very rich in Vitamin E and certain proteins, they are particularly good for women. I had my eye on making a pesto with pumpkin seeds for a very long time now – due to the fact that I took pesto pasta to a potluck one day, but one my friends kids couldn’t have it as she has a nut allergy. I had researched nut free pestos and realized that pumpkin seeds have the same amount of fat/flavor as nuts, but are not allergic.

I have made the pesto with basil and parsley, however feel free to improvise and use herbs of your choice. You can check out my spinach pesto here. This pesto can be served tossed with pasta, or can be served over grilled/baked chicken, baked vegetables, tossed with potatoes for a pesto potato salad and also as a dressing for salads.

2 cups parsley
1 cup basil
3 fat garlic cloves
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, plus extra for garnish
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp lemon juice(freshly squeezed)
zest of the lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, cracked fresh

1 lb, spaghetti

Dry roast the pumpkin seeds in a pan over medium heat until fragrant and slightly golden. Remove set aside to cool. Wash and dry the basil and the parsley. Place the herbs the pumpkin seeds, garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and lemon juice, lemon zest in the jar of a blender. Pulse to breakdown and combine all the ingredients. With the motor running on low, slowly drizzle the olive oil and incorporate it into the pesto. Remove and set aside. This can stored in the refrigerator for atleast a week, or frozen in ice cube trays and stored for upto three months.

Cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted water until al dente. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water and drain the pasta. Toss it with the pesto, thinning it with the reserved pasta water as necessary.(I didn’t use up all the 1/2 cup, but it depends). Top with more pumpkin seeds for crunch and with parmesan. This can be served warm, cold or at room temperature, making it ideal for picnics, potlucks etc.

Verdict: Vibrant and green – not only to the sight but also to the taste. The flavors of the basil, parsley and lemon come through in every bite of this pasta dish, making it a refreshing and delicious dish to eat. Perfect for the summer!

Sending this to ‘CWS – Pumpkin seeds’, event series by Priya and also to the Light Lunches event at RedChillies. Also sending this to ‘Presto Pasta Nights #220’.

Pin ItFollow Me on Pinterest


  1. wow, that looks delicious, I have some parsley growing in the garden, I should try it out with it, the smell of parsley is too strong for me with basil I think it goes really well, thanks love sending this to the event, Hope you have left a comment in pari’s blog if not please do so and tell her about your interest in the giveaway :), Hey beautiful clicks too…

  2. I’m always looking for new and interesting pestos – this one looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights. Pictures are gorgeous and have me wanting to lick the screen!

  3. Wow, what a beautiful color of pesto, I am drooling over it. Even my childhood memories are full of relishing pumpkin seeds. Whenever mom will cook pumpkin, she will take the seeds, dry them out, we will de-skin them and enjoy 🙂

Leave a Reply