This easy vegan pesto is ready in just 5 minutes and made with simple ingredients! It’s a creamy, dairy-free spread that’s perfect for pasta, sandwiches, pizza, salads, and more.
The fact that pesto is SO simple to make just might be my favorite thing about it. Yup, that’s right – you can have creamy, garlic-y, basil-y, cheesy vegan pesto ready in just 5 minutes. So, grab your food processor and let’s get started!
What ingredients are in vegan pesto?
This easy vegan pesto recipe is made with 10 ingredients. We’ll start with traditional pesto ingredients – like fresh basil, pine nuts, and garlic cloves. However, to keep the recipe dairy-free, we will skip out on parmesan cheese. Instead, a combination of nutritional yeast and lemon juice provides the cheesy, tangy flavor. Plus, nutritional yeast contains Vitamin B12 (an important nutrient for vegans!).
Ingredients in homemade vegan pesto:
- Pine nuts
- Nutritional yeast
- Lemon juice
- Olive oil
- Black Pepper
How to make easy vegan pesto
For the full recipe, scroll down to view the recipe card below.
As mentioned earlier, this really is the easiest pesto in the world! Essentially, all you have to do is add the ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.
- Peel the garlic cloves. De-stem the basil and parsley.
- Add basil, pine nuts, garlic, nutritional yeast, water, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, salt, and black pepper to a food processor. Process until smooth and creamy. If needed, add more or less water to achieve desired consistency.
- Transfer the vegan pesto sauce to an airtight jar or container. Store in the refrigerator.
What does pesto taste like?
Pesto is a creamy spread that’s packed with rich flavors of basil, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil. It’s quite aromatic and a little goes a long way. Traditionally, pesto also contains parmesan cheese. This provides a slightly cheesy flavor.
However, since this recipe is vegan and dairy-free, no cheese is used. Despite the lack of cheese, this easy vegan pesto contains all the flavor! You’d never guess it’s free of dairy. Nutritional yeast and lemon juice act as a delicious replacement while contributing a tangy, cheesy kick.
What can you eat pesto with?
Pesto can be used as a spread, dip, or dressing! Here are 15 ways to enjoy this easy vegan pesto sauce:
- Pizza (in place of marinara sauce)
- Buddha bowls
- Toast (especially avocado toast – yum!)
- Pita bread (pairs well with hummus, too!)
- Veggie burgers
- Squash (zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash)
- Vegan grilled cheese
- Vegan quesadillas
- Roasted veggies
- Garlic bread
- Baked tofu or plant-based chicken
- Not a fan of pine nuts? Although they provide the most authentic pesto flavor, walnuts and cashews act as a great substitution.
- Feel free to adjust the intensity of garlic and basil to your personal liking. I use 4 cloves of garlic, but some individuals may prefer more or less. Always taste test your pesto and adjust the flavor (if needed) before storing away.
- Use more or less water depending on the desired consistency. If you’d like to use this easy vegan pesto as a pasta sauce, the recipe is perfect as is. For a thicker pesto dip, omit the water (or reduce to 1-2 tbsp) for a chunkier consistency.
- This pesto should last for up to 1 week when stored in the refrigerator.
More vegan dips and dressing recipes:
- Cashew Cream Sauce
- Green Pea Hummus
- Roasted Garlic Hummus
- Vegan Nacho Cheese
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- Vegan Cashew Sour Cream
- Pumpkin Hummus
This 5-minute vegan pesto is SO easy to make and super tasty. Enjoy it on pasta, pizza, sandwiches, salads, and more!
- Add all ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender. Pulse/process ingredients until smooth and creamy, adding additional water if needed.
- Transfer to an airtight jar or container. Store in the refrigerator. Serve with pasta, sandwiches, pizza, salads, and more!
- Keep pesto stored in an airtight jar/container in the refrigerator. It should keep for up to 1 week.
- Serving Size: 1/4 cup
- Calories: 255
- Sugar: 1g
- Fat: 22g
- Saturated Fat: 2g
- Carbohydrates: 9g
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 8.5g
Keywords: easy vegan pesto, vegan pesto, homemade pesto
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