Homemade vegan basil pesto is better than any store-bought brand around. It is made with five ingredients in five minutes and is the perfect, marinade, dip, sauce, or dressing.
A good pesto adds so much flavor to any dish. Use it as a marinade for chicken, fish, and vegetables, as a dip paired with hummus for a party tray, or as a dressing for pasta and salads.
The best ingredients for vegan basil pesto:
The absolute best thing about making your own vegan basil pesto is that you can customize what goes into it and make the resulting flavors your own. For instance, I avoid too much garlic in my diet because it makes my IBS symptoms worse and causes severe pain. Here is what I recommend going into your pesto:
- Basil and/or other herbs: Traditionally basil is the foundation of a good pesto. The herb creates beautiful green color and a rich, fragrant texture. Start with a good handful or one store-bought bunch and go from there. I also like to use the other herbs that I have in my fridge if I don’t have enough basil, or if I have something that needs to be used up. Try adding in parsley, mint, fresh rosemary, or cilantro.
- Nutritional yeast or parmesan: To make this pesto vegan sub in a high-quality nutritional yeast for the parmesan. The end result will still have a bold nutty, cheesy flavor. However, the same amount of parmesan can be used for a more traditional store-bought taste.
- Olive oil: A good olive oil goes a long way. Don’t worry about the pesto being too oily, that is not a thing. The oil will mix all the beautiful flavors together as well as create a binding agent so it is less of a rub and more of a sauce or dressing. Start with the recommended amount of olive oil and add more if your pesto is not blending and isn’t as smooth as you would like. Don’t have olive oil? Use avocado oil or sunflower oil instead.
- Walnuts, pecans, or cashews: Most store-bought pestos use pine nuts as their nut base. Pine nuts are great. However, they are hard to find, expensive, and really harsh on the environment. I have found that you can still get the same authentic taste with walnuts, pecans, or cashews. Walnuts are my first choice, but I always have cashews so they get used more often than anything else. If you use cashews, soak them in some cold water for half an hour to an hour before blending them so they will blend nicely.
- Lemon Juice: This is not an ingredient that is normally found in pesto, but I really enjoy the lemony flavor and brightness it brings. I also use this as a substitute for garlic. It adds the depth of flavor garlic would and brings out the flavors of the herbs without the stomach pain garlic brings. If you are not sensitive to garlic, feel free to add it in addition to the lemon juice.
How to make vegan basil pesto:
I think I probably say this about all the recipes on Homemade Bee, but this recipe could not be easier to make! If it got any easier you’d be at the grocery store throwing a bottle of pesto in your cart. You will need a food processor or a high-speed blender to make this recipe.
- First, rinse your herbs and remove the stalk. You can use herb scissors, a knife, or your hands to chop your herbs, or just throw them into a high-speed blender or food processor as is.
- Second, add in nutritional yeast, nuts, lemon juice, and oil.
- Third, blend or pulse your ingredients until the desired texture is achieved. I like mine a little chunky so it blends 2-3 minutes until I get the perfect little chunks of nuts. If you want a smoother texture blend for longer and add in extra oil a tablespoon at a time until you reach what you are looking for.
- Fourth, use as a marinade, dressing, sauce, or dip.
How to store vegan basil pesto:
The best way to store your pesto is in an air-tight container in the fridge. It will last a week from the time you store it. I would not recommend you freezer your pesto, things will not end well when you try and thaw it out.
What to use vegan basil pesto for:
There are so many possibilities for this recipe! I love a good vegan basil pesto pasta salad. I also throw it on chicken before grilling, on veggies that will be roasted, use it for raw veggies as a dip or on a big kale salad. Here are several recipes that you could use your newly made pesto on:
- A big batch of pesto cucumber tomato and mozzarella salad.
- Perfectly delicious farmers market pasta salad.
- Baked or grilled chicken. Use the pesto instead of the Moroccan spices and follow the instructions.
- Pair it with a nice dish of homemade hummus and add to a charcuterie board.
- Add it in to a greek cucumber salad.
- Make a nice portion of instant pot shredded chicken, add in the pesto, and make a delicious lunchtime chicken salad wrap.
If you make this incredible vegan basil pesto, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how it turns out. Your feedback is so helpful for future HMB recipes and for other readers.Print
Homemade vegan basil pesto is better than any store-bought brand around. It is made with five ingredients in less than five minutes and is the perfect, marinade, dip, sauce, or dressing.
- 2 cups of tightly packed basil
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ cup walnuts
- ½ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse herbs, remove leaves from their stems and add to a high-powered blender or food processor.
- Add in nuts, nutritional yeast, oil, lemon, salt, and pepper. Pulse or blend for 2-3 minutes or until desired texture has been achieved.
- See post for alternatives to try.
- If your blender is older chop or pull apart herbs into smaller pieces to help them blend.
Keywords: Sauce, Dressing, Marinade, Herbs