Easy Vegan Pesto – Dairy Free Dip or Sauce






Easy Vegan Pesto is made with contemporary, on a regular basis substances — no parmesan cheese wanted. Use as a dip, marinade, or sauce. The chances are infinite!

pesto mixed with gnocchi

We found my daughter’s egg and dairy allergy symptoms when she was round six months outdated. Man, I assumed consuming gluten free at a restaurant was powerful, however we’ve been confirmed in any other case making an attempt to navigate youngsters’s menus that often encompass cheese pizza, cheese quesadillas, mac and cheese, and cheeseburgers. Even many hotdog buns include egg.

Fortunately the vegan meals market has exploded lately and we’re in a position to simply prepare dinner each dairy and egg free at residence. Our fridge and pantry are stocked with vegan replacements of typical kitchen objects (milk, eggs, and butter, for instance) together with a ready vegan pesto that we actually adore.

We as soon as accidentely purchased their “common” pesto with parmesan cheese (we realized it earlier than giving it to my daughter, thank goodness!) and really a lot most popular the flavour of the vegan model.

The one downside? It’s virtually NINE DOLLARS per container. WOOF!

Moderately than shed a tear every time I place it in my cart, I made a decision to make a copycat recipe. Let me inform you, this vegan pesto sauce is a DEAD RINGER for the shop purchased model!

My copycat vegan pesto is straightforward. No dietary yeast. No pine nuts. Simply on a regular basis, inexpensive substances. I’ll present you ways!

vegan pesto in a food processor

What’s Pesto, and Why Isn’t it Vegan?

Pesto is a uncooked sauce originating from Genoa, Italy. It’s usually constructed from garlic, pine nuts, contemporary basil leaves, salt, and olive oil, that are crushed collectively by way of mortar and pestle or, extra modernly, in a meals processor. It tastes contemporary and vivid, a bit garlicky, and is deeply flavorful.

We use it in my Crispy Gnocchi Hen and Bacon Skillet, as a dip for crackers, stirred into cooked pasta and rice, dolloped into vegetable soups, as a sauce for home made pizza, and whilst a hen marinade.

Briefly, we LOVE pesto!! However since pesto incorporates cheese, often within the type of parmesan cheese or pecorino romano cheese, it’s not vegan / dairy free. Downside solved with this dairy-free pesto recipe. It actually is so, so good.

What’s Vegan Pesto Made Of?

Pesto is a type of recipes that will really feel simpler to purchase already ready, however this 6 ingredient vegan model could be very kitchen-staple pleasant. It’s good to make then freeze massive batches of in the summertime when basil vegetation are exploding. Right here’s what you’ll want:

  • Recent basil. Common candy or genovese basil, vs Thai basil for instance, is what you’ll need for this Italian-style pesto.
  • Walnuts. I like to exchange pine nuts, that are costly and could be arduous to search out, with walnuts that are equally creamy. No must toast them — we don’t need any crispy bits on this sauce. I’ve not examined however suppose cashews is also used right here.
  • Garlic. Since pesto is a uncooked sauce, I like to make use of a reasonable quantity of contemporary garlic. In any other case the uncooked, spicy taste overpowers the pesto.
  • Additional Virgin Olive Oil. In case you have any speciality / ending further virgin olive oil available — vegan pesto is the dish to make use of it in. Briefly, use one of the best further virgin olive oil you’ve obtained available.
  • Lemon. Only a drizzle wakens up the pesto to make it style vivid and contemporary. I’ve used a small splash of apple cider vinegar in its place after I didn’t have a lemon available.
  • Salt. A pinch brings all of the substances collectively.

hand holding good quality extra virgin olive oil

3 Ideas for the Greatest Vegan Pesto

  1. Don’t over-process. Pulse the basil, walnuts, garlic, salt, and lemon juice within the meals processor till the substances are finely chopped earlier than streaming within the further virgin olive oil. In case you over-process olive oil, it could actually turn into bitter tasting.
  2. Stream vs pour. Be sure you slowly stream within the olive oil whereas processing as an alternative of pouring all of it in directly. That means your vegan pesto will come collectively with out turning into oily.
  3. Give it a relaxation. I discover home made pesto — vegan or in any other case — tastes utterly totally different on day 2 vs day 1. So if you happen to’re ready, plan forward and make the vegan pesto a day forward of time.

Alright — seize your basil and let’s get to it!

crispy gnocchi mixed with pesto

Find out how to Make Vegan Pesto

Step 1: Pulse the substances.

Add torn basil leaves, walnuts, uncooked garlic, a pinch of salt, and drizzle of contemporary lemon juice to the bowl of a meals processor. Pulse the substances till they’re finely chopped, scraping down the perimeters of the bowl as wanted.

ingredients for dairy free pesto in a food processor

Step 2: Stream in further virgin olive oil. 

With the meals processor operating, slowly stream in high-quality further virgin olive oil, scraping down the perimeters midway by means of. Keep away from over-processing or the olive oil can turn into bitter-tasting. Style then add extra lemon juice — the pesto shouldn’t style lemony, simply contemporary — and/or salt.

Voila, Vegan Pesto!

dairy free pesto in a food processor

What to Make with Vegan Pesto

The chances of utilizing contemporary pesto to waken and clean up different dishes are infinite, however listed here are my favourite methods to make use of home made vegan pesto:

  • Dollop on high of roasted greens.
  • Toss greens in vegan pesto earlier than roasting.
  • Use as a pesto pasta sauce.
  • Toss with crispy gnochi.
  • Stir a small spoonful right into a bowl of vegetable soup.
  • Drizzle onto thick slices of contemporary tomatoes.
  • Stir into cooked rice.
  • Dollop into cracked eggs earlier than whisking then scrambling.
  • Unfold onto baked fish.
  • Drizzle on high of scorching pizza, or use as a pizza sauce.
  • Toss with roasted spaghetti squash.
  • Drizzle onto a Caprese Salad or Caprese Skewers.
  • Use as a sandwich unfold.
  • Use as a shrimp or hen marinade.
  • As a dip with crackers.

Find out how to Retailer and Freeze

Like I mentioned, this vegan pesto recipe will get higher and higher because it sits! Right here’s tips on how to retailer it:

  • Within the fridge: Scoop pesto into an hermetic container then refrigerate for as much as 5 days.
  • Within the freezer: Scoop pesto right into a Ziplock freezer bag then take away the air and freeze in a flat layer. Alternatively you’ll be able to scoop the pesto into silicone ice dice molds then freeze stable. As soon as frozen, come out then place inside a Ziplock freezer bag. Use inside 3 months for one of the best taste.

What I like about frozen pesto is that doesn’t even have to be thawed first. You possibly can add the frozen “flat” pesto, or pesto cubes, immediately into no matter dish you’re making.

With that, I hope you’re keen on this simple vegan pesto recipe as a lot as we do — get pleasure from!

crispy gnocchi mixed with vegan pesto

Use Vegan Pesto in These Recipes


Easy Vegan Pesto is made with contemporary, on a regular basis substances — no parmesan cheese wanted. Use as a dip, marinade, or sauce. The chances are infinite!


  • 2 packed cups contemporary basil leaves (2oz), giant stems eliminated
  • 2 Tablespoons walnuts halves and items
  • 1 common sized or 2 small garlic cloves
  • heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 cup further virgin olive oil


  1. Tear basil leaves right into a meals processor then add walnuts, garlic, salt, and a squeeze of lemon juice (begin with 1 – 2 teaspoons — pesto should not style lemony, simply contemporary). Pulse till the basil leaves are finely chopped, scraping down the perimeters as wanted.
  2. With the meals processor operating, stream within the further virgin olive oil, scraping down the perimeters midway by means of. Do not over-process because the oil can turn into bitter tasting. Style then alter salt and lemon juice if wanted.
  3. To retailer: Scoop pesto right into a storage container with a decent becoming lid then retailer within the fridge for as much as 5 days.
  4. To freeze: Scoop pesto right into a Ziplock freezer bag then freeze flat. Alternatively you’ll be able to scoop the pesto right into a silicone ice dice tray then freeze. As soon as frozen, pop the pesto cubes out then place inside a Ziplock freezer bag then freeze. Use inside 3 months for one of the best taste. You possibly can add the frozen cubes immediately into any scorching pot/pan/skillet.


  • This pesto will get even higher tasting because it sits within the fridge! I a lot desire the flavour on day 2 vs day 1
  • Apple cider vinegar could also be used instead of the lemon juice if you do not have a lemon available. Begin with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar then add extra as wanted to succeed in your required taste.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Woman Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

photo collage of vegan pesto

Images by Ashley McLaughlin

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