Delicious Vegan Pesto Recipes for Your Plant-Based Diet

Are you a vegan looking for a new spin on your favorite Italian sauce? Look no further than vegan pesto recipes! This tasty and healthy sauce is traditionally made with basil, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese, but vegans can enjoy equally delicious versions thanks to creative substitutions. Whether you’re a lifelong vegan or new to the plant-based lifestyle, these vegan pesto recipes are sure to satisfy your taste buds and leave you wanting more.

What Is Vegan Pesto?

Vegan pesto is a delicious and healthy alternative to traditional Italian pesto that is made with basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. As the name suggests, vegan pesto is completely plant-based, and it replaces dairy products with vegan alternatives. There are several ways to make vegan pesto, but the most common replacements for Parmesan cheese are nutritional yeast and cashews.

Vegan pesto is a versatile sauce that can be used in many dishes. It is perfect for pasta sauces, sandwich spreads, or as a topping for pizza. It is also a great way to add flavor to roasted vegetables or potatoes. In addition to being delicious, vegan pesto is also very healthy. It is high in healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. It is also low in calories and cholesterol-free.

The Benefits of Vegan Pesto

Vegan pesto has many benefits over traditional pesto. Here are some of the reasons to choose vegan pesto:

  • Plant-Based: Vegan pesto is completely plant-based, which means it is free from animal products, making it a great option for vegans or anyone looking to reduce their intake of animal products.
  • Healthier: Vegan pesto is lower in calories and fat than traditional pesto. It also contains more vitamins and minerals, making it a healthier option overall.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Vegan pesto is also more environmentally friendly than traditional pesto. It is made with plant-based ingredients that have a lower carbon footprint than animal products.
  • Easy to Make: Vegan pesto is easy and quick to make, and you can customize it to your taste by adding different herbs and nuts.

How to Make Vegan Pesto

There are many ways to make vegan pesto, but the basic recipe involves the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To make the pesto, simply combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. If the pesto is too thick, you can add more olive oil until you reach the desired consistency. You can also add more salt and pepper to taste.

You can also customize the recipe by adding different herbs or nuts. For example, you can replace the pine nuts with almonds or pistachios, or you can add some parsley or cilantro to the basil for extra flavor.


Vegan pesto is a delicious, healthy, and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional pesto. It is easy to make and can be used in many different dishes. So why not give it a try and see how delicious and versatile it can be?

How to Make Vegan Pesto?

If you are vegan or just looking for a dairy-free option for your pesto, then you have come to the right place. Making vegan pesto is simple and easy, and it tastes just like traditional pesto without any animal products. Here’s how to make vegan pesto:


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Start by toasting the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until they are fragrant and lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Once they are toasted, set them aside to cool.
  2. Next, add the garlic cloves and toasted pine nuts to a food processor. Pulse several times to chop them up and then add the basil leaves.
  3. Pulse again a few times until the basil is roughly chopped. Then, with the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream until everything starts to come together.
  4. Finally, add in the nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper and pulse again until everything is well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is evenly incorporated.
  5. Your vegan pesto is now ready to be used! You can spoon it onto pasta, use it as a sandwich spread, or add it to vegetables for an extra boost of flavor.

That’s it! Making vegan pesto is really that simple. Just gather your ingredients, toast the pine nuts, and blitz everything together in a food processor until it’s smooth and creamy. You’ll have a bright, flavorful pesto that’s free from dairy and perfect for any vegan recipe. Give it a try and see for yourself!

Vegan Pesto Variations

Pesto is a classic sauce that traditionally contains parmesan cheese and pine nuts. However, with a few clever swaps, you can easily make delicious vegan pesto that’s just as flavorful and satisfying. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Spinach and Almond Pesto

If you’re a fan of spinach, you’ll love this pesto variation. Simply replace the basil with spinach and the pine nuts with almonds, and you’re good to go. This pesto works well on pasta, as a dip, or even as a spread on sandwiches.

  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

To make the pesto, simply combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to make sure everything gets evenly blended.

Kale and Walnut Pesto

Kale is another leafy green that works well in pesto. Try swapping out the basil for kale and the pine nuts for walnuts for a tasty and nutritious variation.

  • 2 cups packed fresh kale leaves
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

To make the pesto, simply follow the same steps as for the spinach and almond pesto.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Pesto

If you’re a fan of sun-dried tomatoes, this pesto variation is sure to please. This pesto has a rich, savory flavor that pairs well with pasta or as a topping for crostini.

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil, drained)
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

To make the pesto, simply combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to make sure everything gets evenly blended.

Creative Ways to Use Vegan Pesto

Looking for ways to enhance your vegan cuisine? Look no further than vegan pesto! This versatile sauce can be incorporated into a wide variety of dishes to add flavor and nutrition. Here are some creative ways to use vegan pesto:

1. Pasta

Pasta is a classic pairing for pesto, and vegan pesto is no exception. Toss your favorite pasta shape with a generous dollop of vegan pesto and some sautéed veggies for a quick and easy weeknight meal. You can also use vegan pesto as a sauce for lasagna or other baked pasta dishes.

2. Pizza

Spread vegan pesto on your favorite pizza crust instead of tomato sauce for a unique and delicious twist on the classic pizza. Top with veggies like tomatoes, artichokes, and olives for a tasty vegan pizza.

3. Sandwiches

Spread vegan pesto on bread for a flavorful sandwich filling. Add veggies like cucumber, tomato, and lettuce for a refreshing lunch option, or pair with vegan cheese and grilled veggies for a more substantial meal.

4. Soups

Vegan pesto can also be used to add flavor to soups. Add a spoonful to minestrone, tomato soup, or vegetable soup for a burst of flavor. You can also use vegan pesto to make a creamy pesto soup.

5. Dips

Use vegan pesto as a dip for veggies, crackers, or bread. Mix it with vegan cream cheese or tofu for a creamy dip, or use it as a topping for a vegan crostini or bruschetta.

6. Salad Dressing

Whisk vegan pesto with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a tasty salad dressing. Drizzle over mixed greens or use as a topping for a vegan caprese salad with sliced tomatoes and vegan mozzarella cheese.

Incorporating vegan pesto into your meals is a great way to add flavor and nutrition to your plant-based diet. Give these creative ideas a try and see how versatile and tasty vegan pesto can be!

Benefits of Vegan Pesto

If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy addition to your diet, vegan pesto is an excellent choice. Made with fresh herbs, nutrient-rich nuts, and healthy fats, vegan pesto is packed with flavor and nutrition. Here are some of the many benefits of adding vegan pesto to your meals:

1. Vegan Pesto is High in Antioxidants

The fresh herbs used to make vegan pesto, such as basil and parsley, are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that help to protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can lead to chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.

2. Vegan Pesto Contains Healthy Fats

Vegan pesto is made with healthy fats from nuts and olive oil. Nuts are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can help to lower your risk of heart disease and improve your cholesterol levels. Olive oil is also high in monounsaturated fats, as well as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

3. Vegan Pesto is a Good Source of Plant-Based Protein

The nuts used in vegan pesto, such as pine nuts, walnuts, or almonds, are also a good source of plant-based protein. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues in your body, as well as for making enzymes, hormones, and other important molecules.

4. Vegan Pesto is Lower in Calories Than Traditional Pesto

Traditional pesto is made with Parmesan cheese and often contains a significant amount of calories and saturated fat. Vegan pesto, on the other hand, is lower in calories and saturated fat, making it a healthier alternative.

5. Vegan Pesto is Versatile and Easy to Make

Vegan pesto is incredibly versatile. You can use it as a pasta sauce, as a dip for vegetables or crackers, or as a spread on sandwiches. It’s also incredibly easy to make at home. All you need are a few simple ingredients, a blender or food processor, and a few minutes of your time. You can customize your pesto recipe to suit your taste preferences, adding more garlic, lemon juice, or nutritional yeast for added flavor.

Vegan Pesto FAQs

Pesto is a delicious and versatile sauce that can be used in many dishes. Vegan pesto is a non-dairy version of the traditional sauce, perfect for those who avoid animal products. Here are some frequently asked questions about vegan pesto.

Can I use a different oil besides olive oil in vegan pesto?

Yes, you can use any oil you prefer. However, olive oil is the traditional oil used in pesto and provides a distinct flavor that complements the other ingredients. If you want to experiment with other oils, try using avocado oil, sunflower oil, or even coconut oil for a unique twist on the classic pesto recipe.

How long can I store vegan pesto in the fridge?

Vegan pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Make sure to press down on the pesto with a spoon or spatula to remove any air pockets before covering it with a lid. To extend the shelf life, you can also freeze vegan pesto for later use.

Are there any substitutes for pine nuts in vegan pesto?

Yes, there are several substitutes you can use in place of pine nuts. Walnuts, cashews, almonds, and even sunflower seeds are all great options. Each will provide a unique flavor and texture to the pesto, so feel free to experiment and find your favorite.

Can I freeze vegan pesto for later use?

Yes, you can freeze vegan pesto for later use. Simply transfer the pesto to an airtight container or freezer bag, making sure to press out any air pockets. Frozen pesto can be stored for up to six months in the freezer. To thaw, let the pesto sit in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for a couple of hours before use.

How can I use vegan pesto?

  • As a pasta sauce
  • As a dip for vegetables or crackers
  • As a spread on sandwiches or wraps
  • As a topping for pizza or bruschetta
  • As a marinade for grilled vegetables or tofu

Happy Eating with Vegan Pesto Recipes!

Thank you for taking the time to read about these delicious vegan pesto recipes! Now, it’s time for you to head to the kitchen and whip up your own batch. With these recipes, you can enjoy the taste of pesto while staying true to your vegan lifestyle. Be sure to come back soon for more vegan food ideas that will leave your taste buds happy!

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