Try our easy vegetarian recipe for hemp oil pesto, a great twist on the classic Italian sauce. Also check out our classic pesto, kale pesto, tomato pasta sauce and more pasta sauce recipes. For another herby condiment, try our zingy salsa verde.

Hemp oil’s balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids makes it particularly nutritious. It has a deep-green colour, similar to a high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, and the flavour is sweet and earthy with a pronounced nuttiness. It has a low smoke point however, so is best used raw, to finish dishes. Because of its wonderful flavour, hemp oil also makes a great pesto, marrying well with basil.

A jar of this pesto will last for a couple of weeks in the fridge – use it to dress pasta, salads or as an accompaniment to fish, meats or chargrilled vegetables. Hemp seeds are available in health-food shops and online.


  • 600g mixed seasonal vegetables, (such as fennel, chicory, oyster mushrooms and baby leeks), cut into wedges light olive oil
  • light olive oil
  • a squeeze lemon juice
  • 10g hemp seeds
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 50g basil, roughly chopped
  • 70ml cold-pressed hemp oil
  • 60g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative) or mature cheddar, grated


  • STEP 1

    To make the pesto, toast the hemp seeds in a dry frying pan over a low heat until they begin to pop.

  • STEP 2

    Cool slightly, then pound to a rough powder using a pestle and mortar.

  • STEP 3

    Pound the garlic and a pinch of salt with a pestle and mortar, then add the basil and grind to a paste.

  • STEP 4

    Pour in the hemp oil, mix, then add the cheese and ground hemp seeds.

  • STEP 5

    Heat a barbecue to medium-high or heat a griddle pan to high.

  • STEP 6

    Put the vegetables into a bowl and mix well with 1 tbsp of olive oil.

  • STEP 7

    Lay on the barbecue or griddle and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side until charred.

  • STEP 8

    Season, squeeze over the lemon juice and serve with the hemp pesto.


Comments, questions and tips

Rate this recipe

What is your star rating out of 5?

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Overall rating