Detox Celery Leaf Pesto

While not an avid follower of food trends, I have to admit that when I initially scanned through the list of what’s hot for 2018, it immediately got a thumbs up from me. It favours aspirational food goals and mindful choices, rather than bizarre ingredients that offer little substance and scant flavour. Prompted by the ‘nose to tail’ philosophy, as veggie fans, we now embrace ‘root to leaf’ eating, which I’m delighted about. This detox celery leaf pesto supports vegetable-centred eating and opens the door to plenty more creative ways of lessening food waste. Besides, using leftovers to make something delicious is savvy and very good.

My fridge is never without some type of pesto. Our favourite recipe is this Ultimate green basil pesto. I usually make a large batch at least once a week which we use for basil pesto chicken sandwiches, pesto pasta or stirred into Italian style soups for an extra hit of herby flavour. Last week I ran out of basil, parmesan and pine nuts which, once again, proves that necessity is the mother of invention. Scavenging around the veggie draw can lead to good things.

Detox Celery Leaf Pesto

After a quick fridge forage, I managed to gather a few core ingredients that looked like pesto candidates. A bunch of celery, Italian parsley, garlic, olives and my latest pantry staple, nutritional yeast. After some initial tweaking and tasting, I ended up with this flavourful detox celery leaf pesto. It’s also happens to be vegan friendly. I celebrated with avo toast with this pesto dolloped on top.

Cooks notes: Nutritional yeast can be found at most Health food stores or on-line at Faithful to Nature. It has a cheesy taste and is high in Vitamin B1 and 2 and folic acid. It’s often used in vegan cooking to replace cheese. Substitute with parmesan cheese, if you’re not following a vegan diet.

Detox Celery Leaf Pesto
Makes 1 cup


  • 3 cups celery leaves
  • a handful flat leaf Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup pitted green olives
  • 1 clove garlic
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 15ml (1 tablespoon) lemon juice
  • 15ml (1 tablespoon) nutritional yeast flakes
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper
  1. Place the celery leaves, parsley, olives and garlic in a food processor and pulse until broken down and fine.
  2. Add the sunflower seeds, lemon juice and nutritional yeast and blitz once more.
  3. Add the olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper and pulse to combine.
  4. Transfer the pesto to a sterilised jar and pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top.
  5. Seal until ready to use and store in the fridge.


Recipes to which you can add Detox Celery Leaf Pesto:

Chicken pesto pasta with parmesan and pine nuts

Best Pasta e Faglioli Soup

The Everything in Vegetable Soup





4 Comments. Leave new

  • Fantastic! We loved this recipe. After making it a couple of times we decided not to add additional salt and pepper as we found that natural pepper flavour of the celery leaves and the brine from the olives were enough. But what I love most is the ability to use food, the celery leaves, that I would thrown out. Thanks a bunch for creating this recipe xx

  • So happy you loved it Sarah. It’s amazing what can be made from kitchen leftovers. When I have a bunch of herbs in the veggie draw, I use it to make a bright herby pesto. So useful! Best regards Di

  • Amazing!!! I’ve used celery leaves like this before but wanted to try a new recipe. I love olives & I decided to try it out. I didn’t have enough sunflower seeds so I used my walnuts. Pinenuts….move over!! Love them but, they are too expensive when other nuts & seeds can substitute.
    I want to make your Sunflower Seed Butter but I don’t have a high speed blender. Just my 2 speed Kitchen Aid emulsion stick mixer. Would this work??
    My take away is using the scraps that most of us trash!!! I get so mad when I see celery, radish & fennel leaves chopped off by our grocers in produce. I use the leaves even if I don’t make a recipe. The leaves will be frozen in a bag to later become a soup veggie broth. I think all the “trash” makes the best veggie broth with your own spices.
    Thank you again, for sharing!!! It’s even delish on triscuits!!!

  • Dianne Bibby
    17 March 2022 6:01 pm

    Hello Angie. Isn’t pesto just the most versatile place to go with fridge draw forages. Most soft leaves and herbs work a treat. With nut or seed butters, you just have
    to keep pulsing until the oils start releasing and the paste becomes more butter-ish. Good luck!

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