Simple Vegan Pesto

By • May 29, 2013 • 44 Comments

546 Save

If you like it, save it!

Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.

Got it!

If you like something…

Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.

Got it!

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.

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

💬 View Comments ()

Comments (44) Questions (0)


5 days ago Dawn Heather Burrell Ellis

I tried sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts for a less expensive, school friendly version and we loved it. I think the combination of lemon juice and nutritional yeast really makes this recipe! Cheers and thanks


6 days ago Betty Jo McDonald

Pesto and pasta! My favorite before I became a vegan and I have just been leaving out the cheese. I'll try the nutritional yeast. For Karen--try sliced or chunked tomatoes with it--or roasted red peppers or grilled thinly sliced squash. It just becomes a base for vegetables.


about 1 month ago Laina

This is delicious! I toasted the pine nuts in a dry frying pan (so not raw anymore) and served this with a beet & buckwheat gnocchi from "The Vibrant Table" cookbook. AMAZING!


4 months ago IvorieJenkins

This pesto is surprisingly amazing! Make more than you need, freeze and enjoy later!
It's great with angel hair pasta although I chose to pair it with Kelp noodles (a low calorie, raw, seaweed like noodle that is pretty tasteless so goes great with sauces) instead. You can find those at Whole Foods.


4 months ago Karen

Would this pesto be good with pasta? I am a beginner with the Vegan lifestyle. Any advice is wanted.


3 months ago Eve Jane Davies

Pasta and pesto is a staple dish! Pesto is perfect for pasts. Simply make the pesto, cook the pasta, and stir them together! Often I sizzle (never burn!) some sliced garlic and/or mushrooms in some “butter” (Vitalite or Pure, vegan spread, and a pinch of salt) to go with my pasta and pesto. Honestly it’s staple dish if you come home from work and just want a quick dinner. All it takes is boiling some pasta, getting your pesto out of the fridge, lightly cooking the garlic and/or mushroom – onion if you like too – and stirring together. You can add nutritional yeast on the top like you would cheddar or parmesan, and you can drop the coated pasta onto some salad leaves as well. In all, this can be a gormet meal and I have this about once a week!


5 months ago Jory Mullard

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


6 months 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.


7 months ago Cillabeth

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


9 months ago macarena

what is nutritional yeast??


3 months ago Eve Jane Davies

I find it strange when people, who at on a computer, ask questions in comments rather than simply Googling the question to find the answer instantaneously.


9 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!


3 months ago Eve Jane Davies

What reason were you sceptical and why was it the wrong reason?


9 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!


10 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!


about 1 year ago Charity

I'm allergic to citrus. Lemon alternative?


10 months ago Angie Auffret

you can leave it's not required.


about 1 year ago SDK

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


about 1 year ago Therese

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


over 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!


over 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...