Oil-Free Cilantro Lime Pesto

One of the things I hope this blog proves is just because you have a certain dietary restriction/need/preference doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor or some of your favorite things.  There is usually always a way to meet your cravings based on your food needs.  Now, that being said, that doesn’t mean I’m magic and can fix all your dietary woes with a healthy substitution.  Some things just cannot be recreated and more often than not it’s better that we can’t turn all junk food into healthy food.  Who wants to eat a healthy Twinkie anyway?  Or a real one for that matter….

I digress.  Today’s recipe was created because of two things.  1.  While I love fat, it’s super easy to go overboard with it especially when it comes to liquid oil like olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil.  Unless you’re measuring everything out, oil can add up pretty quick.  I started to realize I was buying big jugs of olive oil more and more frequently and running out of them fast.  Which leads me to my second reason… 2. I was out of olive oil and I wanted pesto.Oil-Free Cilantro Lime Pesto | Life Healthfully Lived

I want to stress I don’t think good fats are bad.  In fact, they’re awesome and I try to get them in at every meal.  But too much of a good thing can be bad and when you use an entire 1.5-liter bottle of olive oil in less than a week and a half, you might need to evaluate your food situation.  I’ll still use olive oil to make my spinach pesto, broccoli rabe pesto, and all other delicious things that require olive oil but it’s nice to have an option that is oil-free and just as delicious.

I used this last night on Adam’s fish and he deemed it “pretty tasty”, which is husband speak for good.  It has a nice light flavor from the cilantro and even though there is no oil, it’s still creamy.  You can use any green herb or vegetable you would like, I just happened to have a bunch of cilantro I needed to use so that’s what I went with.  This would also be great on pasta or zoodles or panini’s or chicken/pork or crackers or your finger….

Oil-Free Cilantro Lime PestoOil-Free Cilantro Lime Pesto | Life Healthfully Lived

  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, rinsed and dried and ends trimmed
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • juice of 1 to 2 limes, depending on how lime-y you want it
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp roasted garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast (or freshly grated parmesan if you do cheese)
  1. To toast almonds: Add almonds to a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Shake the pan back and forth every so often and dry toast the almonds until golden brown.  Let them cool while you get everything else together.
  2. Place the rest of the ingredients into a blender or food processor, starting with the garlic, then cilantro, then seasonings, and finally lime juice.  Pulse a few times then add the cooled slivered almonds.
  3. Blend until you have a relatively smooth and creamy sauce.  If it’s a little too thick you can add more lime juice or water 1 tablespoon at a time to thin it out.  Taste and adjust the salt then store in your fridge in an airtight container for about a week. Oil-Free Cilantro Lime Pesto | Life Healthfully Lived


DIY Wednesday: Cheesy Garlic Spread

Cheese and garlic are two words that need to be put together as often as possible.  Who doesn’t want something cheesy and garlicky?DIY Wednesday: Cheesy Garlic Spread | Life Healthfully Lived

People who are lactose intolerant, vegan, or a vampire.  While I can’t make a cheesy garlic spread that would be suitable for a vampire, I can make one for those people who don’t or can’t do dairy.

This spread could not be easier to put together, especially if you already have roasted garlic on hand (which you should ALWAYS have roasted garlic on hand), and it goes with everything.  On top of soup or stew, in tacos, as a salad dressing, on crackers, as a vegetable dip.  The possibilities are endless! Heck, eat it with your finger.  I won’t judge.

Make sure you have a batch of this on hand for Friday’s recipe because you aren’t going to want to miss that one.  It’s pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

Cheesy Garlic SpreadDIY Wednesday: Cheesy Garlic Spread | Life Healthfully Lived

  • 2/3 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight or very hot water for 4 hours
  • 1/3 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp roasted garlic
  • 3 to 4 tbsp nutritional yeast, depending on how cheesy you want it
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Drain and rinse the cashews and place everything into a blender or food processor.
  2. Blend for 3 to 4 minutes until everything is completely smooth.  It will probably take less time if you have a high-speed blender.
  3. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

That’s it!  Now go put this on everything and save a little bit for later in the week! DIY Wednesday: Cheesy Garlic Spread | Life Healthfully Lived

“Parmesan” Topping

Growing up, my sister and I topped many a meal with the green container of “shake-y cheese”.  Thats what we called it in our house, because you could shake cheesy goodness on to anything.  Clever I know.  I also know that shake-y cheese isn’t really cheese at all, but that didn’t stop it from tasting delicious sprinkled on top of a big ol’ plate of spaghetti.  There are a variety of different healthier and dairy free versions of this topping out there, but I think this one comes closest to the salty and slightly buttery taste of my beloved shake-y cheese.  Plus it is really simple to make a bunch and then store it in a container in the fridge.  Make this and get to shakin’!


“Parmesan” Topping  

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  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 3-4 tablespoons nutritional yeast, depending on how cheesy you want the flavor to be
  • 2-3 tsp salt, depending on taste


1. Preheat oven to 250.  In a blender or food processor, pulse the walnuts a few times until coarsely chopped.  Add in nutritional yeast and salt and process everything until it has a fine breadcrumb like texture.

2. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper or a silpat.  Spread the walnut mixture evenly over the pan and place in the oven.  Bake for 30-40 minutes in 10 minute increments.  After each 10 minutes move the mixture around so it doesn’t burn.  It will be done when it has a nice golden brown color.

3. Let the topping cool and then transfer to a container.  You can store this in your fridge for up to a month.


Simple and easy way to add flavor to any of your meals!  This is great on vegetables, lasagna, spaghetti, casseroles, or anything else your little heart desires.  Enjoy!