If you think pesto is too challenging or time consuming to make, you’ve been living a lie! This easy vegan basil pesto comes together in just 5 minutes, and we know you’ll be putting it on more than pasta.
A Twist On a Classic
It always helps to know a little bit about what you’re making and where it comes from. So, we’re here to help you figure that out (pesto style).
This classic green sauce originated in Genoa, Italy, and it’s typically made by mixing basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese together. The name pesto, which comes from the word pestâ, actually means to pound or crush in Genoese. So, now you’re equipped with some fun facts about pesto for your next dinner party.
There’s a few reasons we haven’t used pesto in many of our recipes. For one, pine nuts are extremely expensive. And two, we’ve been experimenting with making pesto recipes that just didn’t quite cut it.
We took it upon ourselves to create our own version of what we think is the best vegan pesto on the internet. Yes, we really believe it.
We made this pesto without the use of pine nuts to save a few bucks, and instead used cashews. Boy, does pesto ever taste amazing with cashews. It adds a little bit of sweetness and creates an unbelievably creamy texture. But, you’ll just have to decide which nuts you prefer on your own.
Key Ingredients for Vegan Basil Pesto
- Sweet basil: what would pesto be without basil? It’s what gives traditional pesto the green hue everyone knows and loves. Plus, it adds a unique flavor of citrus and spice. Truly, it’s a herb you really need to taste to understand. Just one tablespoon of basil provides you with 13% of your daily vitamin K needs, which is necessary for blood clotting and optimal heart functioning. So, if you needed another excuse to eat more pesto, you just read it.
- Vegan parmesan: our secret weapon in this recipe. Our vegan parmesan is so cheesy, it really sets this pesto apart from the rest. The mix of cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic, and salt create a perfect harmony of vegan deliciousness. We decided to use cashews instead of pine nuts to save some money, but we actually ended up liking the taste even more. Sweeter and creamier than a traditional pesto. Now that’s our cup of tea.
- Garlic: do you remember the last pesto you had without garlic? If you do, it was probably a bad experience. Garlic is what really rounds out this recipe, and makes it even more addicting. We always find ourselves toning down the garlic in our recipes to suit the palate of other people. But, there is good reason to load up on it! Research has shown garlic can actually reduce your chances of getting sick compared to a placebo. How cool is that? Neat-ture.
- Olive oil: another key ingredient to make this classic Italian spread more authentic. Olive oil has a distinct taste that you shouldn’t try to substitute in this pesto. We use the brand Terra Delyssa, which we really enjoy. We find the taste to be perfectly balanced, but not too intense. Did you know olive oil contains around 70% monounsaturated fat, which has been shown to help lower your LDL cholesterol? (that’s the bad kind).
How to Make Vegan Basil Pesto
Making this pesto is the best part. You just have to throw all the ingredients into your blender or food processor, turn it on medium, and watch the magic happen. Well, you will need to scrape down the sides a couple times.
Do this for about 1-2 minutes, or until you have a smooth consistency (see photo below). Then, transfer your pesto into a mason jar or container for storing.
And voila! You now have a delicious and easy vegan basil pesto to enjoy on pretty much anything.
How to Store Vegan Basil Pesto
This vegan pesto stores in the fridge for up to 1 week. If you’re not able to use it up before that, you can always store it in ice cube trays in the freezer for about 1-2 months.
Why You’ll Love This Vegan Basil Pesto
This recipe will easily become your new favorite sauce for pasta, pizza, wraps, and more. It’s:
If you make this recipe, don’t forget to leave a comment, rate it, and tag us on Instagram with #brokebankvegan. Happy eating!
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10 servings per container
Serving Size1 servings
- Amount Per ServingCalories85
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat
- Saturated Fat 1.2g 6%
- Sodium 3mg 1%
- Potassium 62.8mg 2%
- Total Carbohydrate
- Dietary Fiber 0.6g 3%
- Sugars 0.2g
- Protein 1.5g 3%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Do I have to make the cashew parmesan in order to make this recipe?
No, you don’t have to make the cashew parmesan to make this recipe. Instead, just add 3 tbsp raw cashews, 2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast, and a pinch more salt.
Can I use pine nuts instead?
Yes, you can use pine nuts instead of cashews as that’s what a traditional pesto is made with.
How do I make this recipe cheaper?
You can make this recipe cheaper by adding in more water to make it last longer.