Simple Vegan Pesto

By • May 29, 2013 • 36 Comments

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Author Notes: This pesto is so good, you'll never notice that it's dairy-free! Nutritional yeast adds cheesy flavor. Serve this in sandwiches, with pasta, or as a topping for thickly sliced heirloom tomatoes.Gena Hamshaw

Makes 1 generous cup

  • 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  1. Place the basil, walnuts or pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor fitted with the S blade. Pulse to combine, until the mixture is coarsely ground.
  2. Turn the motor on and drizzle the olive oil in a thin stream. Add the sea salt, pepper, lemon, and nutritional yeast, and pulse a few more times to combine.
Jump to Comments (36)

Tags: basil, herbs, nutritional yeast, pesto, spread, Vegan

Comments (36) Questions (0)


24 days ago Jory Mullard

Wow this pesto is GOOD - the nutritional yeast adds a whole other dimension. Thank you!!


about 1 month ago Janelle Rafferty

This is a keeper. I used it with salmon burgers and sliced avocado. Perfect for a dairy-free and gluten-free way of eating.


2 months ago Cillabeth

So yum, my kids 5-17yrs loved it. It was quick and easy, a definite weekday recipe. Thanks for sharing.


4 months ago macarena

what is nutritional yeast??


5 months ago Wild Bill

When I read that I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between this recipe and traditional pesto I was skeptical, but for the wrong reason. It's better than regular pesto. No butyric acid. No pukey smell or taste. Fabulous!


5 months ago Zestilicious

This is hands down the best pesto I ever had. So easy to make and SO delicious. Will make sure to use in recipes on my vegan blog and circle back to this link! Thank you!


6 months ago Angie Auffret

I just purchased a lovely bunch of basil from the farmers market. I am going to pick up a few ice trays and make this tonight!


9 months ago Charity

I'm allergic to citrus. Lemon alternative?


6 months ago Angie Auffret

you can leave it's not required.


10 months ago SDK

I substituted a bit of water for the olive oil - it was still delicious! Bumped up the garlic and lemon as well.


10 months ago Therese

I just made this for my dairy allergy son, it is amazing!


about 1 year ago Urvish Tamakuwala

I just made this recipe and used raw pistachios instead of the pine nuts and used a little more garlic. Delicious!


about 1 year ago Trees

Just made this, and it's delicious! I only used about 1/4 cup of oil.


over 1 year ago IvorieJenkins

I tried shelled hemp seeds as pine nut alternative. Turned out great and a great deal cheaper than using the pine nuts!


over 1 year ago Karen

I am really happy to have found this recipe. Thanks! It tastes better each time I make it. I have found that 1/2 cup of oil is too much, though. I use about 3/8 cup ( 1/4 cup and then half of that). I used the 1/2 cup the first time and found the pesto too oily for my taste - especially if you use this as a sandwich spread, like I do sometimes. I also found that fresh lemon is better than bottled, and sea salt really is better than regular table salt, which I used when I didn't have sea salt. Yummy!


over 1 year ago Kater

the nutritional yeast makes this pesto I've ever made. Am headed out to the garden to decimate some more basil!


over 1 year ago Cookie16

You know, my batch, made 3 days, ago has yet to brown at all in the fridge! Yay nutritional yeast! That must be the secret...


over 1 year ago Cookie16

Made this last night — so very good! The nutritional yeast is a brilliant idea!


over 1 year ago Shayna Teicher

Love it! I foresee myself making this many, many times.


over 1 year ago Mare

I love this recipe and substitute pumpkin seeds for the walnuts or pine nuts. Also tried it using all three and that was really good as well.


over 1 year ago LiVe

Could I use sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts/walnuts?


over 1 year ago bd20009

This was amazing. My boyfriend -- who usually hates pesto with cheese -- loved this too.


over 1 year ago Gena Hamshaw