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Vegan Pesto

Make creamy, vibrant Vegan Pesto that’s just as cheesy, nutty and versatile without any dairy! The perfect green sauce for spring.

glass jar with green vegan pesto and a gold spoon

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Pesto is a classic pasta sauce (or really, anything sauce) for a reason. It’s so simple to whip up in about 5 minutes. It’s full of fresh herby flavor from plenty of basil. Pesto is so creamy and cheesy. AND it goes with anything!

You can use this vegan pesto as a go-to sauce for your favorite pasta, like this penne pesto pasta salad. Or, spread it on vegan pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, or toss with meatballs for a high-protein dinner.

overhead of the ingredients for vegan pesto: basil, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt and lemon juice

Ingredients

This simple pesto recipe comes together in a flash. All you need is a food processor a few pantry-staple ingredients. Reminder: You can find the detailed, printable recipe in the recipe card below.

  • Nutritional yeast. A must-have to add cheesy flavor to pesto, and so many more vegan recipes.
  • Pine nuts. These are traditional in Italian pesto, but you can also substitute them with walnuts if you have them on hand.
  • Olive oil. Choose a nice flavorful olive oil, as it won’t be cooked. This also helps emulsify the sauce so it’s creamy and fluffy.
  • Lemon juice. To brighten things up and help thin out the sauce a bit.
  • Basil. This, of course, is the foundation of fresh homemade pesto! You can use the stems too, they taste like basil.
  • Garlic. Fresh garlic adds classic pesto flavors to this dairy-free version.
overhead of a food processor with half raw ingredients and half blended basil pesto

Substitutions & Swaps

  • Nut-free vegan pesto: Substitute the pine nuts with sunflower seeds.
  • Without nutritional yeast: Instead of nutritional yeast, you can use vegan parmesan.
  • More greens: To sneak more greens into your pesto, half of the basil can be substituted with spinach or arugula.
overhead of a glass jar with green vegan pesto

Storage

To store vegan pesto, place it in an airtight container and cover the top of the sauce with a layer of olive oil. This helps keep the basil bright and vibrant, not brown. It can be stored in the fridge for up to three days or frozen for up to three months.

Did you enjoy this recipe? Please leave a comment and a ⭐ star review below!

Vegan Pesto

Karissa Besaw
Simple vegan pesto made with classic ingredients. Instead of parmesan, nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Seasoning
Cuisine Italian, Vegan
Servings 12 tablespoons
Calories 81 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups basil leaves packed
  • ¼ cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • cup olive oil

Instructions
 

  • In a food processor, blend together the basil, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, and salt.
  • Slowly add the olive oil while continuing to blend, until the pesto is smooth or the consistency you prefer. Add more olive oil if needed for a thinner pesto.

Notes

  • This recipe makes about 3/4 cup of pesto.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoonCalories: 81kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 1gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 49mgPotassium: 69mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 212IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 9mgIron: 1mg
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