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Pesto is such a fun and versatile topping that can be used on everything from plant-based pizza to minestrone soup, veggies and veggie wraps. Grab one of these vegan pesto recipes and go wild! Let your tastebuds revel in some homemade pesto made with bright herbs, quality olive oil and a few unique ingredients.

multiple glass jars of vegan pesto recipes surrounded by fresh herbs, lemon and nuts on a white counter top.

When I started eating a more plant-based diet, I remember feeling so sad saying goodbye to cheese (the main food group that was giving my digestive system issues). It was even more devastating when I thought I had to say goodbye to pesto, too!

After a bit of research, I learned that there is a whole world of vegan pestos (and they are amazing). It takes the same amount of time to make any of these recipes as traditional pesto, and the flavor is outstanding.

I don’t miss the dairy at all and my digestive system thanks me.

Table of Contents
  1. 5 Vegan Pesto Recipes
  2. How To Make Vegan Pesto
  3. Vegan Pesto Recipes FAQs
  4. Serving Ideas
4 containers of fresh herbs including basil, mint, cilantro and parsley.

5 Vegan Pesto Recipes

These simple recipes below will rawk your world! Each homemade option features a different nut and herb combo (and no pine nuts). While I love using nutritional yeast for its cheese-like flavor in my vegan parmesan cheese, it isn’t needed in any of these.

I’m highlighting the following pairings: walnuts + basil, almonds + basil, cashews + cilantro, pistachios + mint + parsley and almonds + arugula. Click on any of them to get to the recipe and enjoy the incredible fresh herbs and plant-based protein boost from a variety of ingredients.

vegan basil pesto in a glass jar surrounded by basil and walnuts.
Vegan Basil Pesto
5 from 3 votes
This vegan basil pesto is simple to make and packed with plant-based ingredients. The garlic blends perfectly with the basil for an authentic Italian flavor.
Make Recipe
How to make sun-dried tomato pesto
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
5 from 2 votes
Enjoy the best sun-dried tomato pesto recipe out thereβ€” I add it to pizza, salads, soups, toast and veggie bowls.
Make Recipe
Cilantro Pesto Recipe
5 from 3 votes
Add some tangy, spicy cilantro pesto to soups, top veggies, or use as a dip or spread. Cilantro is a natural detoxifying herb that pairs well with lime and serrano chiles.
Make Recipe
Vegan Pistachio Pesto recipe
Pistachio Pesto
4 from 1 vote
Plant-based pistachio pesto recipe combines parsley and mint with roasted pistachios and lemon juice for a sauce that is vibrant and fresh.
Make Recipe
Lemon Arugula Pesto
5 from 2 votes
Don't toss that wilted arugula! Turn it into a fresh lemony arugula pesto instead. It's especially delicious served with roasted veggies or as a base for avocado toast.
Make Recipe

How To Make Vegan Pesto

Pesto began in Genoa, Italy, and is traditionally made with oil, herbs, nuts and seasoning with parmesan or Romano cheese. My homemade pestos are similar, yet omit the cheese. They are still richly flavored. There are a few methods to making this spread, depending on the consistency you want.

mortar and pestle with homemade pesto.

Tools to Make Pesto

The word “pesto” in Italian means “to pound or crush”. Back before food processors and blenders reigned, you had to grab a trusty mortar and pestle, then put some elbow grease into it.

Of course, nowadays, every kitchen counter seems to be home to all sorts of gadgets. (I still think there’s a place for a mortar and pestle in every kitchen!) My vegan pesto recipes use a food processor or blender since I know that most kitchens have either, yet feel free to use the traditional method if that’s your style.

If using a blender, make sure to use the low speed or pulse setting so you don’t liquify your pesto.

Consistency

When making this spread the traditional way, you end up with an oily, gritty texture. Some people like this while others like a smoother paste. To achieve this you may need to add a bit more oil, make sure the herbs are chopped finely before blending, and don’t be afraid to blend a bit longer for the right texture.

Vegan Pesto Recipes FAQs

What can I use instead of pine nuts in pesto?

While pine nuts are great, there are so many other options! My recipes use pistachios, walnuts, almonds and cashews (not all at once) and they work incredibly well.

What is vegan pesto?

Vegan pesto isn’t that different from regular pesto, it just omits the cheese! You still get the texture and flavor you want, yet without the possible digestive issues.

What is the difference between pesto and vegan pesto?

Traditional pesto typically contains parmesan or Romano cheese. Vegan pesto omits this part yet is still richly creamy.

Serving Ideas

Pretty much everything and anything works with vegan pesto. Whether you need to avoid dairy, or just want to make delicious dip, there’s a recipe for you. Here’s how I use my recipes:

You can also spread it over top of a piece of hearty toast for a great snack or easy lunch.

I hope this guide was helpful and you try some of these homemade pesto recipes! I appreciate any comments or questions you want to leave in the comments section below.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe inspo for my next batch of pesto! I can’t wait to try some of these new herb combos.

  2. Hi everyone! *All* the links have been fixed and they all work now. πŸ™‚

  3. I LOVE pesto and really want to try the arugula recipe, but i’m not very creative. I like to have a recipe. Your article says ‘ or scroll down to check out 5 tried and true vegan pesto recipes.’

    There was no recipes further down. Where can I go to get them?

  4. 5 stars
    Vegan pesto from SGS is the BEST ever. I first tried it in Fresh Start Autumn, and it is now a staple in our house (and the reason I grow my own basil!). Thanks for the fun new recipes to try, can’t wait!

  5. I love basil, which is why I’m learning to grow it. I love sun-dried tomatoes. So those would be my #1’s.

  6. 5 stars
    I’m honestly surprised that the recipe I most want to try is the sun-dried tomato! I’ve never thought of pesto in that way and it sounds awesome!