I have never met anyone that doesn’t like pesto, this easy vegan pesto is the perfect addition to all pasta, pizzas and sandwiches. It can never hurt to have a jar in the fridge especially when it only takes 5 minutes to make!
Like all pesto, this is super simple to make and is perfect for quick weeknight dinners. It’s also one of my go-to crowd-pleasing dishes for when I have company. To store this pesto you can keep it in a jar in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Alternatively, you can put it in an ice cube tray and freeze it. This makes easy dinners for 1, just pop it out and heat it in a pan with your veggies or in warm pasta!
Nutritional yeast – has a nutty and cheesey taste, and is what replaces the parmesan in traditional pesto. I sometimes don’t add it in (I put it as optional). This yields more of a lemon/basil sauce then a pesto, but it is still delicious. I prefer this sometimes when you want something lighter, but I never used to put cheese in my pesto (even when I was just vegetarian).
Nutritional Yeast is a source of all essential amino acids and also contains B12! This is a delight for us vegans, as normally this B12 is exclusively found in animal products. It can be found at any bulk or health food store.
Avocado – This is what makes the pesto extra creamy and smooth (more so than normal pesto), also allows you to omit olive oil.
Nuts – Traditional pesto is made with pine nuts, I tend to avoid making it this way since they can be expensive. This pesto works well with cheaper nuts; I have had good results with walnuts, cashews and almonds.
Garlic – Tricked you, because there is none! I personally hate garlic and therefore don’t put it in my pesto (or anything I cook). I realize this is not normal, so feel free to add it to this recipe (however I encourage you to try it without). My vegan proofers are a fan of the new spin on the sauce and lemony-ness! Plus you can bring it for lunch without stinking up the entire office fridge (a pet-peeve of mine since I can’t stand the smell/thought).
Easy Vegan Pesto
- ½ Cup Nuts (Walnuts, Almonds, Pine nuts, and Cashews work well)
- 2.5 Cup Basil - swap out some arugula, spinach, kale, and parsley or cilantro if you do not have enough basil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4-6 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil or ½ Avocado
- 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- 1-2 Cloves garlic
- ¼- Cup of water to blend - more as needed
- First, add nuts to a high powered blender or food processor, blend until finely ground.
- Add the remaining ingredients, blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Add to your favourite pasta, bowls, and veggies!
This pesto also tastes delicious if you mix the basil with other herbs such as cilantro and mint or fresh arugula!