I’ve been on a pesto kick since college when I learned how easy it was to make (yet how grown up you feel eating it!). This vegan basil pesto is even better than the traditional version, in my book. Why? Well, it’s more nutrient dense and removes all dairy, which usually causes skin or digestive issues for me.
How to make pesto
Pesto originated in Italy, and is traditionally the process of grinding down basil leaves, olive oil, pine nuts, and parmesan. Pesto is one of the most forgiving recipes out there— you can use any kind of nuts, herbs and seasonings to create your own signature blend. This vegan basil pesto recipe is a great one to start with, as it probably tastes most like the classic pestos you’ve tried before.
Vegan basil pesto recipe
To get started, combine these ingredients in a food processor or carefully pulse in a blender: walnuts, basil, garlic, lemon and sea salt. Once it’s finely minced, add in the olive oil and blend again.
If using a high speed blender, be careful to blend slowly otherwise it can turn into a green goo. No joke! And that’s def not what we’re going for here! Small chunks are preferred to a puree with this vegan basil pesto recipe. Pro tip: if you’re making this recipe using a full sized blender container, then I suggest doubling the recipe. It gives your blender more to work with, so that the finished product is the correct consistency.
How to use basil pesto
This is a sauce that can go on or in practically anything. Soup? Yep! Salad? Yes! Pasta? For sure! Pizza? No doubt! You get it, right? Below, I added the basil pesto to a piece of toast, sliced some peaches on top, added some mozzarella (you can leave that out if you’re vegan) and then warmed it to perfection. It was good!
Recipes to top with pesto
Need some good recipe inspo for your new fav pesto? These are all great options:
- A topping for this black bean burger
- Mix in a few tablespoons into this minestrone soup
- Use as a sauce on this gluten free pizza crust
- Cover your next batch of roasted veggies
- Swap in as the sauce for this zoodles recipe
You can also keep it simple by topping your next piece of toast with it, using to top almond flour crackers, or as a fun dip for raw sliced veggies. It’s a great sauce option because it adds bonus healthy fat + protein to any recipe.
I’ve been growing my garden every spring for the past 7 years. Some years it does better than others, yet I’ve always had luck with basil and tomatoes. So vegan basil pesto is something we tend to enjoy often. I hope you give this recipe a shot and then let me know what you think. I’d honestly love to know if you even missed the cheese, because I don’t!
Other dairy free pesto recipes
Once I realized just how good pesto is without the parmesan, I went on a pesto making spree! There are so many ways to make pesto, so here are my most fav versions:
Which one of these recipes leaves you in a pesto-making mood? Don’t forget to try this pesto recipe, as well as leave a rating/comment on how you liked it! Do you have any fun ingredient combos for your own vegan basil pesto? If so, then I’d love to hear about them!
Vegan Basil Pesto
- food processor
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 3 cloves garlic
- 6 cups fresh basil - just leaves
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil - extra virgin
- In a food processor fitted with a chopping blade, combine the walnuts and garlic. Pulse until finally chopped.
- Add the basil and salt and pulse again until finally chopped.
- With the motor running, pour the oil through the feed hole in a slow steady stream.
- Process until smooth. Stop to scrape down the sides if needed while processing.
- Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- It will keep about one week in the fridge or up to several months in the freezer.