Vegan Pesto Recipe

Vegan pesto
Vegan pesto photo by Zoryana Ivchenko / Getty Images
    10 min
Ratings (17)

This vegan pesto recipe tastes surprisingly like the real thing! The secret? Nutritional yeast and extra garlic. Well, that and the fact that the primary flavor in pesto is actually basil, which means that you don't really need or miss the Parmesan cheese. 

Toss this simple vegan pesto with pasta, use as a pizza sauce or serve with bread or crackers for an appetizer. Vegan pesto is very quick and easy to make as long as you have a good food processor.

This quick and easy pesto is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free, and is also a raw foods recipe.

Looking for more dairy-free and cheeseless pesto recipes? Try this artichoke pesto or a flavorful roasted red pepper pesto. In the mood for something fall themed or a little bit different? Try this vegan pumpkin seed pesto!

What You'll Need

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil (loosely packed)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil or other high-quality and flavorful oil
  • 1 cup pine nuts (other nuts, such as almonds or walnuts may be substituted)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

How to Make It

  • Note: Without the cheese, you need all the flavor you can get in a good vegan pesto recipe! I love making pesto with all kinds of different oils, but for the best flavor, skip the flax oil or grapeseed oil or whatever you sometimes experiment with and stick with a high-quality olive oil. Other high-flavor oils you might experiment with are walnut or avocado but note that these will change the flavor of your vegan pesto. Have fun experimenting!

  • How to make your vegan pesto:

    • Combine all ingredients in a food processor until nuts are ground. Pesto should still have texture and not be completely smooth. Add more salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
    • One variation is to add 1/2 cup rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes. For a lower fat version replace half the oil with soy milk.
    • Not sure what to do with pesto, now that you've got it? Try using it to make pesto and breadcrumb stuffed tomatoes, or check out these four ways to use pesto. 
  • Nutritional information, from CalorieCount:

  • Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe

  • Amount Per Serving: 

  • Calories  214 / Calories from Fat  184 

  • Total Fat  20.4g 31% / Saturated Fat  2.1g 10%

  • Cholesterol  0mg 0%  

  • Sodium  222mg 9%

  • Potassium  284mg 8%

  • Total Carbohydrates  6.1g 2%

  • Dietary Fiber 2.4g 10%

  • Sugars  0.6g

  • Protein  5.7g

  • Vitamin A 5%, Vitamin C 3%, Calcium 2%, Iron 14%

  • More Vegan Pesto Recipes: