Cheesy, full of garlic and absolutely delicious vegan pesto recipe! The perfect pasta sauce to serve with zucchini pasta, regular pasta, or spread on toasted bread! Such a quick and easy recipe full of healthy whole foods!
When it comes to classic Italian cuisine, pesto holds a special place in our hearts. Its bright green color, aromatic basil, and rich flavors make it a beloved sauce for pasta, sandwiches, and more.
But what about those who follow a vegan diet or have dietary restrictions? Fear not!
In this blog post, we will explore a delightful vegan pesto recipe that captures the essence of traditional pesto while remaining entirely plant-based. Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure that will leave your taste buds dancing with delight.
One of my favourite easy dinner meals is spiralling zucchini and pairing it with my vegan pesto recipe. Sometimes I also like making it with my Easy Vegan Cauliflower Gnocchi recipe which sometimes is even more tasty.
It’s super easy to throw together without notice and you can serve it with any kind of pasta, bread, or pizza for a 10-minute meal that will literally wow absolutely everyone. It’s very gourmet, while being ridiculously simple!
Table of Contents
WHAT IS TRADITIONAL PESTO MADE FROM?
Traditional pesto is made from a combination of fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and extra-virgin olive oil. The ingredients are typically ground or blended together to create a smooth and flavorful sauce.
Some variations may include other ingredients like lemon juice or pecorino cheese, but the basic components remain the same. Pesto originated in Genoa, Italy, and is commonly used as a sauce for pasta, as a spread, or as a topping for various dishes.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE HOMEMADE PESTO
You will need the following ingredients listed below to make the vegan basil pesto (the exact measurements and full recipe are in the recipe card at the bottom of the post):
- Fresh basil leaves – growing your own basil from basil plants is ideal but not necessary.
- Pine nuts – this will give it the nutty flavor. These can be quite pricey so you can do a mix of pine nuts with of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts, and hemp seeds.
- Fresh baby spinach
- Fresh garlic cloves
- Nutritional yeast – this is for a cheesy flavor
- Fresh lemon juice
- Extra virgin olive oil – good quality olive oil makes a big difference in this recipe.
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Optional – more fresh herbs, vegan cheese such as vegan parmesan cheese, a little lemon zest, sun-dried tomatoes, etc.
DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO MAKE THE VEGAN PESTO RECIPE
Add everything to the food processor except the olive oil. Add basil, pine nuts, spinach, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt & pepper to a food processor.
Process until a coarse mixture. Add oil and water to thin if you desire, then add olive oil and process again.
Add a little water if you want a thinner pesto consistency (optional)! Taste and adjust the flavors.
Add more oil to preference, adjust salt, add more nutritional yeast for a cheesier flavour. This recipe is also amazing for pre-made pizza dough for pesto pizza, salads, on sandwiches or with roasted veggies!
If you decide to try the zucchini noodles, I spiralize with this cheap Spiralizer which I have linked here. It creates curls of your favourite vegetables in under a minute!
It has a suction cup to keep it in place, so it takes far less strength and effort than other spiralizers I have used on the market. Just make sure you are cutting the zoodles as you go, or you will end up with one very very long string of zoodles.
This pesto recipe is by far my favourite, as it still has traditional ingredients like basil, oil and pine nuts. I have added spinach to give the pesto more bulk, without adding much calories or fat.
This pesto is made with just a handful of everyday ingredients and it goes well with pasta, veggies, chicken, and much more!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THE DAIRY-FREE PESTO?
Vegan pesto is incredibly versatile and can be paired with a variety of dishes to enhance their flavors. Here are some delicious serving suggestions to complement your vegan pesto:
Pasta: The classic pairing for pesto is pasta. Cook your favorite pasta, such as spaghetti, linguine, or penne, according to the package instructions. Once cooked, toss the pasta with a generous amount of vegan pesto sauce, ensuring that each strand is coated evenly. You can also add some sautéed vegetables like cherry tomatoes, zucchini, or mushrooms for added texture and flavor.
Bruschetta: Toast slices of crusty bread until they are golden and crispy. Spread a layer of vegan pesto on each slice and top with fresh tomato slices, roasted vegetables, or vegan cheese. It makes for a delightful appetizer or light meal.
Sandwiches/Wraps: Spread the fresh pesto on bread, rolls, or wraps to create a delicious base for your sandwiches. Layer it with fresh vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, and avocado. You can also add grilled tofu, tempeh, or marinated vegetables for a heartier option.
Roasted Vegetables: Toss your favorite vegetables, such as potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, or Brussels sprouts, with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast them in the oven until they are tender and golden. Just before serving, coat the roasted vegetables with a dollop of vegan pesto to add a burst of flavor.
Stuffed Bell Peppers: Cut bell peppers in half, remove the seeds, and stuff them with a mixture of cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, and onions. Bake them until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through. Just before serving, drizzle vegan pesto over the stuffed peppers for added flavor.
Salads: Use vegan pesto as a salad dressing. Combine mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, olives, and any other desired vegetables. Toss the salad with a few tablespoons of pesto to add a burst of flavor and richness to your greens.
HOW TO STORE
Refrigeration: Transfer the leftover pesto to an airtight container or jar. Make sure the container is clean and dry before adding the pesto. Press down lightly to remove any air pockets and create a smooth surface. Seal the container tightly.
Olive Oil Layer: To prevent discoloration and oxidation, drizzle a thin layer of extra-virgin olive oil over the top of the pesto before sealing the container. This layer acts as a protective barrier and helps maintain the vibrant green color.
Refrigerator Storage: Place the sealed container of vegan pesto in the refrigerator. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Ensure that the temperature of the refrigerator is consistently cool and not subject to frequent temperature fluctuations.
DOES THE VEGAN PESTO RECIPE FREEZE WELL?
If you want to store the vegan pesto for a longer period, you can freeze it. To do this, spoon the pesto into ice cube trays or freezer-safe containers.
Leave a little space at the top of each compartment or container to allow for expansion during freezing. Once frozen, transfer the pesto cubes or containers to a freezer bag, remove any excess air, and seal tightly. Frozen vegan pesto can be stored for up to three months.
When you’re ready to use the stored vegan pesto, remove the desired amount from the refrigerator or freezer. Thaw frozen pesto in the refrigerator overnight or defrost it gently in the microwave.
Once thawed, give the pesto a stir and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VEGAN PESTO AND REGULAR PESTO?
Vegan pesto doesn’t contain any real cheese or dairy products. It gets it’s cheesy flavour from the nutritional yeast! Your classic pesto recipe contains cheese, sometimes numerous different kinds of cheeses!
Other Vegan Recipe Ideas You May Like To Try!
- Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- Vegan Thai Curry With Tofu And Vegetables
- Roasted Garlic + Dill Mashed Cauliflower
- Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Wings (Gluten Free & Easy)
- Easy Vegan Cauliflower Gnocchi
- 1 cup fresh basil
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 cup spinach
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Add basil, pine nuts, spinach, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt & pepper to a food processor. Process until a coarse mixture.
- Add olive oil and process again. Add water if you want a thinner pesto consistency!
- Taste and adjust flavour. Add more oil to preference, adjust salt, add more nutritional yeast for cheesier. This recipe is also amazing for pizza, salads, on sandwiches or with roasted veggies!
- If you choose to serve with zucchini noodles, sauté everything over medium heat for a few minutes. Not too long or noodles will get soggy!
Serving Size:1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 141Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 47mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g
The nutrition information provided is calculated based on industry-standard software and should be used as a general guide only. The information may vary depending on ingredient substitutions, cooking techniques, and individual serving sizes. It is the responsibility of the reader to ensure the accuracy and appropriateness of the nutritional information provided. Always consult a qualified healthcare provider for personalized medical or nutritional advice.
IF YOU TRIED THIS EASY VEGAN PESTO RECIPE PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT AND STAR RATING. I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOUR CREATIONS! YOU CAN PIN THIS RECIPE ON PINTEREST OR SHARE ON INSTAGRAM BY TAGGING @basicswithbails and #basicswithbails
I love to bake, cook, exercise, and document all of the above. Nutrition is not low fat. It is not low calorie. It’s not feeling deprived or being hungry all the time. It’s nourishing your body with real, whole foods so that you are consistently satisfied and energized to live your life to the fullest! Read more…