Best Vegan Pesto

10 minutes and the best vegan pesto! You will not even realize that it's dairy-free!
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Spring is here which means it’s time for fresh and light recipe and this vegan pesto sauce would just be the perfect addition to your spring dinner/lunch menu. It’s such a versatile sauce, you can add it to pasta, rice or spread it on your tortillas, sandwiches. There’s so much that you can do this with sauce!

vegan pesto

Here’s my honest confession – I am a pesto addict and I think that vegan pesto is so much better than the regular pesto! Oh my god you guys, I am not even kidding. This stuff is so good! I never tried making a vegan pesto before and I make a lot of pesto at home. I have used various produce like basil, spinach, kale, cilantro in my pesto but none of the recipes were vegan and now that I have made this vegan pesto, I am not going back.

Initially I was skeptical about how it would turn out. But it turned out way better than my expectation. I think the secret ingredient is nutritional yeast, it gives the pesto such a cheesy taste that you would never realize that there’s no cheese in there.  Pesto is so much more about basil than parmesan cheese anyway so the vegan version tastes exactly like this real deal. I gave a spoonful to my husband to taste and he said this is the best pesto he’s ever tasted. I am not a vegan but hey if something tastes better when vegan, then why not adapt it. No harm saving some calories from the cheese, right? What also makes this pesto amazing is garlic, I went heavy on the garlic because I love it. If you are not a garlic fan, use 1-2 cloves.

Even though this pesto is vegan, it’s obviously not super healthy. There’s a lot of olive oil in there. You may reduce the oil and add some non dairy milk and see how it works but if you want the best taste, then stick to this recipe. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

My favorite way to use this sauce is over pasta. I know it’s like the most common thing but I love it. Once you have this sauce prepared, you will just need to boil some pasta and dinner is ready in less than 30 minutes. Everyone loves easy dinner ideas and it can’t get simpler than this. You can also add in some veggies to the sauce to make your pasta more hearty. I love adding broccoli.

I have also been using this vegan pesto sauce over my sandwiches, just smear on your bread and top with sliced tomato, avocado, sprinkle some salt and pepper and your breakfast is done. Mmmm!  I hope you guys give this vegan pesto recipe a try this spring! Happy Cooking!

*I haven’t tried it yet but I am sure this sauce would freeze pretty well. Just store in small containers and pop in the freezer. You can then take this small containers as and when required for quick and easy meals.

* I prefer using pine nuts in my pesto but it doesn’t mean that you can’t use any other nut. Walnuts or almonds would work as well.

* Cut down on the garlic if you are not a fan.

Recipe adapted from Food52.

Best Vegan Pesto

vegan pesto
10 minutes and the best vegan pesto! You will not even realize that it's dairy-free!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course sauce, Vegetarian
Cuisine Italian
Servings 1 cup
Calories 1712 kcal


  • 2 cups packed basil leaves
  • 3/4 cups pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice optional


  • To a food processor add basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine.
  • Add the olive oil, nutritional yeast and pulse till well combined.
  • Add lemon juice (optional) and give it one final mix. Vegan Pesto Sauce is ready to use!


Calories: 1712kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 21gFat: 178gSaturated Fat: 19gSodium: 8mgPotassium: 1014mgFiber: 7gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 2530IUVitamin C: 18.2mgCalcium: 123mgIron: 8.6mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

Best Vegan Pesto

14 thoughts on “Best Vegan Pesto

    1. No, two very different things. Nutritional yeast is used to flavor food, has a cheesy taste and cannot be used for baking. Active dry yeast is just dried yeast and used for baking.

      1. Okay. Thanks.. will it taste good if I make it without nutritional yeast or even without Parmesan cheese?

  1. I’m a pesto addict too, and this week I was too lazy to grate some parmesan when I made some so I skipped it. I discovered that it doesn’t need it at all! I just want to eat this pesto with a spoon Manali — it’s such a pretty green too!

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