Ackee Basil Pesto

Packing powerful punches from ackee, basil and sunflower seeds, this sauce is a nutrient powerhouse! Try it on pasta or as a spread on a sandwich or in a wrap; it’s the base sauce used on the Ital Enuh Keeza; don’t you just love when healthy and delicious collide?

Basil and #ackee pesto, nutrient packed sauce, dip or spread #vegan

I mentioned in a previous post that ackees have been found to be rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium. They contain all the essential amino acids (with arginine being the predominant one) and are reported to be rich in linoleic, oleic, palmitic and stearic fatty acids (which have been shown to reduce risk of coronary heart disease when included in a balanced, healthy diet) [1] 

But this pesto doesn’t stop there, there is the added benefits from the basil and sunflower seeds (click each if you’d like to read more about their benefits – the links will open in new tabs). I go the extra step of soaking the sunflower seeds so as to get better access to the nutrients they provide, check out this article from Wellness Mama for an in-depth explanation of why this is good and how to do it.

I ended up drying my sunflower seeds after soaking them as I had the time but you don’t have to dry the seeds for this application. If you’re planning to use up all the sauce right away you can forgo the drying. Alternately, you could forgo the drying altogether and freeze the sauce in smaller portions so that you can thaw and use only what you need each time.

Nutrient powerhouse pesto made with basil ackee and sunflower seeds #vegan

What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. If you try this or any of the recipes from this site be sure to #amazingackee and @amazingackee so I can see your posts across social media.

Until next time, thanks for stopping by 😊

[1] Veronica M. Dossou, Jacob K. Agbenorhevi, Francis Alemawor, and Ibok Oduro, “Physicochemical and Functional Properties of Full Fat and Defatted Ackee (Blighia sapida) Aril Flours.”American Journal of Food Science and Technology, vol. 2, no. 6 (2014): 187-191. doi: 10.12691/ajfst-2-6-3.

Basil Ackee Pesto

Try this nutrient packed vegan pesto! Ackees are used in place of the cheese and oil and sunflower seeds instead of nuts.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Author Chantal


  • 2 cups Basil tightly packed
  • 1 cup Parboiled ackee
  • 1/2 cup Sunflower seeds soaked, drained and dried
  • 2 to 8 cloves of Garlic finely sliced
  • 2 tbsps Oil
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsps to 1/4 cup Nutritional yeast


  1. Heat oil and saute the garlic cloves till softened (this is just to cut the bite of the garlic, if you don't mind a more intense flavour you can skip this step and omit the oil completely)
  2. Combine all ingredients (including the sauteed garlic) in a food processor and pulse till desired consistency is achieved (in cases were a lower range is given for an ingredient, start with the smaller amount and work your way up depending on your taste)
    Basil and #ackee pesto, nutrient packed sauce, dip or spread #vegan
  3. Adjust salt
  4. Enjoy


Too amazing not to share...Pin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on YummlyPrint this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Facebook

Related Posts

Introducing Mac ‘n Kees – The Ultimate Vegan Alternative to Mac and Cheese

Introducing Mac ‘n Kees – The Ultimate Vegan Alternative to Mac and Cheese

Try this creamy vegan alternative to mac and cheese: Mac ‘n kees! It uses virtually two ingredients, is kid-friendly, quick and easy to prepare and ready in less than 15 minutes. You can add nutritional yeast as an optional third ingredient for a cheesy flavour […]

Jamaican Ackee Patties {Vegan}

Jamaican Ackee Patties {Vegan}

Let’s talk the anatomy of a “propa” (proper) patty. The crust: gorgeous and flaky, not too thick and shouldn’t be dry and crumbly The filling: not pasty, must be well seasoned with a good balance of herbs, spices and heat. The crust to filling ratio: […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *