This easy and herbaceous 5-Minute Vegan Pesto is the absolute best! The fresh, tangy, and savory ingredients blend together in no time and can be frozen for months on end. Use it as a flavor-enhancer on pizza, sandwiches, salad, and more!
I can’t get enough of this 5-Minute Vegan Pesto! It’s delightfully herby, savory, and delicious on almost everything. It’s a staple sauce I always keep in my fridge or freezer to add heaps of flavor to anything from Mashed Potatoes to Pasta Salad to Spinach Mushroom Pasta!
This simple and herby Italian sauce is made from easy ingredients, like cheesy nutritional yeast, olive oil, fresh basil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar. Instead of pine nuts, try using walnuts or sunflower seeds for a more nutrient-dense sauce that still packs in rich and nutty flavors. Made in a blender or food processor, the easy vegan pesto is ready to enjoy in just 5 minutes (if not sooner!).
What is pesto?
Pesto is an Italian sauce traditionally made of basil, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, and parmesan cheese. This sauce, originating from Genoa, Italy, is used as a spread, dip, and sauce on sandwiches, pasta, pizza, burgers, and more.
Is pesto sauce vegan?
One of the key ingredients in traditional pesto sauce is parmesan cheese; therefore, traditional pesto is not vegan. However, it can easily be made vegan by swapping out the parmesan cheese for a vegan alternative. This can either be a dairy free parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
Easy vegan pesto ingredients:
- Fresh basil - If you’ve been growing a basil plant all summer, now is your time to shine! You’ll use two cups of fresh basil as the base of this herbaceous sauce.
- Walnuts or sunflower seeds - Since pine nuts tend to be expensive and hard to find, I recommend using walnuts or sunflower seeds in vegan basil pesto. Both of these substitutions will add a nice nutty richness.
- Nutritional yeast - So cheesy and delicious, nutritional yeast is the perfect substitute for the traditionally used parmesan cheese.
- Extra virgin olive oil - This acts as a rich binding agent and also helps the pesto last longer.
- Balsamic vinegar - I love how the tangy sweetness of a good balsamic vinegar cuts through the herby richness of the basil, nuts, and nutritional yeast in this pesto.
How to make vegan pesto sauce
All you need to make this super simple vegan pesto is a food processor or a high powered blender. The rest is as easy as 1, 2, 3!
- Place your basil, nuts or seeds, nutritional yeast, balsamic vinegar, garlic, oil, salt, and water into your food processor.
- Blend your ingredients together until a smooth sauce forms. Add more water or oil as necessary to reach your desired consistency.
- Spread your finished vegan pesto onto your favorite sandwich or stir it into cooked pasta noodles and enjoy! For full ingredients and instructions see printable recipe card below
Tips for success:
- If you prefer pesto on the thinner side, you can blend in a little extra water or oil.
- Are you running out of basil? Feel free to substitute half of the basil with fresh spinach.
- If walnuts or sunflower seeds aren’t your thing, try using cashews, pecans, pepitas, or pine nuts instead.
- For a less tangy pesto, replace the balsamic vinegar with fresh or bottled lemon juice.
How to use vegan pesto
You can pair pesto with pretty much any savory dish or salad. It’s an extremely versatile sauce that goes well with Italian food, breakfast, side dishes, and more! Add a dollop on top of fettuccini alfredo, home fries or tofu scramble for breakfast, mix with tofu ricotta cheese, or meatballs,or use it as an herbaceous dip for pizza, roasted veggies, or fresh bread.
Frequently asked questions:
Leftover vegan pesto stays fresh in an airtight jar or container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Absolutely! Pour the pesto into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once the pesto cubes are completely frozen, pop them into a ziploc bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re craving something rich and herby, simply toss a frozen pesto cube into your simmering soup or pasta sauce!
More savory vegan sauces to try:
Enjoy everyone! Happy Day! Please feel free to comment below and give this recipe a rating. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!Print