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Vegan Pesto

A simple recipe for vegan pesto made with garden-fresh basil. This homemade dairy-free pesto recipe is wonderful in so many different dishes.
a small jar of vegan pesto with almonds and a grey cloth

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A simple recipe for Vegan Pesto made with garden-fresh basil. This homemade dairy-free pesto recipe is wonderful in so many different dishes.

a small jar of vegan pesto with almonds and a grey cloth.

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This easy homemade vegan pesto comes together with only 6 simple ingredients. And to keep it affordable, it also uses walnuts, cashews, or almonds instead of pine nuts.

Much like Cilantro Chimichurri, you’ll find yourself putting this dairy-free pesto on everything! Try it on a plate full of Make-Ahead Scrambled Eggs for dairy-free pesto eggs.

If you’re looking for a more traditional pesto recipe, check out my Homemade Pesto.

Does Pesto Contain Dairy?

Traditional pesto calls for parmesan cheese. But worry not! This vegan pesto is 100% dairy-free thanks to subbing in nutritional yeast powder

a cast iron skillet with almonds, and other ingredients for making pesto on a white board

I love garlic (LOVE GARLIC), but if you prefer a milder garlic taste, try using roasted garlic instead of raw. I always have some in my fridge after making a batch of Instant Pot Roasted Garlic.

This recipe makes a small(ish) batch of pesto, but if you need pesto en masse, you can adjust the number of servings on the recipe card to double or even triple it.

If you have leftover basil after making your pesto, check out these tutorials on Freezing Basil and How to Dry Basil.

How Long Will Dairy-Free pesto last?

Pesto will keep in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for six months. You can learn all about how to freeze pesto here.

Pesto will oxidize (brown) if exposed to air for too long. You can prevent this from happening by storing it in air-tight containers and drizzling a little bit more olive oil on top of the pesto.

How to use Dairy-Free Pesto

a food processor with basil, nuts, and garlic.
two photos of a food processor showing how to make dairy-free pesto.

For a firm but spreadable pesto, I used a scant 1/3 cup of olive oil, but feel free to adjust to your preferences. We’re making pesto here, not creating oxygen. Experiment! 

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes

  • A little pesto goes a long way, so plan to store it in smaller containers so you’re not losing any product to (food) waste. I use 4 oz canning jars (related: Canning Supplies Equipment List), the smaller version of Souper Cubes, or freeze mini portions in ice cube trays. Remove from the trays once frozen and store them in freezer bags. I love these reusable silicone bags.
  • Add in a cup or two of spinach or kale as an easy way to sneak in more veggies to dishes.
  • If you have nut allergies, try using pumpkin or sunflower seeds instead. Definitely roast them for a few minutes to release the best flavor.
a small jar of dairy-free pesto.

WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS

One serving has 2 WW Freestyle SmartPoints.

a small jar of vegan pesto with almonds and a grey cloth
Print Recipe
5 from 1 rating

Vegan Pesto

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
A simple recipe for vegan pesto made with garden-fresh basil. This homemade dairy-free pesto recipe is wonderful in so many different dishes.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup almonds or walnuts, cashews, or pine nuts
  • 2 cups basil packed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast powder
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  • Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and roast the nuts for ~5 minutes, stirring often.
    1/4 cup almonds
  • Add the nuts, garlic, basil, and nutritional yeast to a food processor.
    1/4 cup almonds
  • Add in the rest of the ingredients, excluding olive oil.
    2 cups basil, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tsp nutritional yeast powder
  • With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto is your desired consistency. For a firm but spreadable pesto, I used a scant 1/3 cup but adjust to your preferences.
    1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste.
    salt to taste

Notes

  1. Add in a cup or two of spinach or kale as an easy way to sneak in more veggies to dishes.
  2. Use pumpkin or sunflower seeds in place of the nuts if you have nut allergies.
  3. Pesto will keep in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for six months.
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Pesto
Amount Per Serving (1 tbsp)
Calories 54 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 1mg0%
Potassium 25mg1%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 160IU3%
Vitamin C 0.7mg1%
Calcium 12mg1%
Iron 0.2mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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