Pesto, Parmesan and Olive Bread

I tried these bread rolls with an African Zanzibar tomato soup I often make. Even though pesto, olives and parmesan are very non-African (at least I have not seen these food items often when travelling through Eastern-Africa), they fit perfectly with the tomatoes. Use vegan parmesan if you are lactose intolerant or if you are vegan. You can use either black or green olives and red or green pesto although I prefer the black olives and green pesto combination.

A lovely and flavourful combination, perfect with a slice of mild cheese

This recipe is:

  • Egg free
  • Nut free but includes seeds/oils from seeds

This recipe is easy to make:

  • Lactose (dairy) free

Pesto, Parmesan and Olive Bread

Makes 10 rolls (buns)


  • 300 grams (11 oz) spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons aluminium free and gluten free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (Himalaya or sea salt)
  • 80 grams (3 oz) sunflower seeds
  • 80 grams (3 oz) millet (whole)
  • 10 pitted olives (black or green), chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon (vegan) parmesan, grated finely
  • 100 millilitres soy milk
  • 100 millilitres water
  • 2 tablespoons pesto (green or red) from a health food store
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar


  1. Mix 300 grams spelt flour, 80 grams sunflower seeds, 80 grams millet and 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.
  2. Slice or chop the 10 olives finely.
  3. Grate the parmesan finely.
  4. Pour the 2 teaspoons agave nectar, 100 millilitres water and 100 millilitres soy milk into the spelt mix. Stir a little.
  5. Add the grated parmesan, chopped olives and pesto. Stir into the dough.
  6. The consistency of the dough should be sticky but not runny. It should not drop easily off a spoon. If too dry, add a little water, if too runny add a little spelt.
  7. Knead very lightly (for a couple of seconds).      
  8. Place baking parchment on a baking tray measuring 40x40 centimetres (approximately 16x16 inches).      
  9. With your hands, form 10-12 rolls and place on the parchment. The rolls should be similar to a small apple in size.
  10. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius/400 degrees Fahrenheit/Gas Mark 6, for 20-25 minutes.      
  11. Cool on a wire rack.


  • You can use regular baking powder instead of the aluminium free and gluten free baking powder.  
  • You can wrap individual rolls in plastic bags and reheat or toast in the toaster later.  
  • You can use other seeds in this recipe i.e. pumpkin seeds, black sesame seeds and more.  
  • You can use sun dried tomatoes instead of the olives.
  • You can use vegan parmesan if you are vegan.
  • You can use wholemeal flour instead of the spelt flour and honey instead of the agave nectar.
  • You can use skimmed milk, rice milk, almond milk or oat milk instead of the soy milk.