Easy Homemade Dairy-Free and Vegan Pesto Recipe
This 5-ingredient, 5-minute dairy-free pesto recipe is the most delicious, vegan version of a beloved Italian staple! A freezer-friendly, classic pesto that the whole family will love! Serve with pasta, sandwiches, salads, and more.
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What Makes This Recipe Great
There is nothing better than homemade basil pesto– it’s truly one of my favorite sauces. The best part? Pesto feels like a super fancy pasta sauce but is actually super quick and easy to make! My easy Vegan Pesto Recipe is so delicious it will blow your mind that there is absolutely no dairy in it.
Traditional pesto is made with a whole bunch of parmesan cheese, but to make this pesto vegan, I left it out and added in a bit more salt. It tastes like everything you love about pesto– the same simple ingredients: fresh herbs, olive oil, pine nuts, and garlic cloves, and the same creamy texture–all without any dairy whatsoever! My go-to version that has the BEST flavor.
I have so many favorite ways to serve vegan basil pesto: on pasta, on sandwiches, and as a salad dressing. Or, use it in these delicious pesto recipes: Keto Summer Pasta with Pesto, Pesto Shrimp Kabobs, Keto Crispy Pesto Chicken, Pesto Meatballs, and more!
- 5 Minute Recipe
- Simple, fresh ingredients
- Vegan, Dairy Free, Whole30 & Keto Pesto Recipe
- Use it for pasta, chicken, salad dressing, and more!
Watch How To Make Dairy Free Vegan Pesto
- Fresh Basil: This homemade vegan pesto recipe calls for 2 cups of fresh basil leaves. This is the main ingredient– the star of the show! Make sure you really pack the basil in when measuring. If you grow fresh basil plants at home– this is the perfect opportunity to use them.
- Olive Oil: You may need 1 to 2 tablespoons more to reach the consistency you desire. For thinner pesto, add more olive oil. You can use extra virgin olive oil if preferred.
- Pine Nuts: Use unsalted pine nuts (or whichever nut you have on hand.). You can find these at your local grocery store. Trader Joe’s carries them as well.
- Garlic: Use fresh garlic cloves or a jar of minced garlic will also work.
- Salt: Use more or less to taste.
Pesto Without Pine Nuts
Regular pesto sauce is most commonly made with pine nuts, which is my favorite nut to use because they’re nutty, slightly sweet, and taste delicious when toasted.
However, pine nuts are very pricey. You can easily swap in another nut and still have a delicious vegan pesto recipe.
I’ve made this basil pesto with almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans and pistachios. Each nut gives a tasty and unique flavor. Feel free to use whichever nut you have on hand.
- In a food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and salt. Pulse until all the ingredients are finely chopped.
- Add in the olive oil and blend until combined. If needed, add in more olive oil until desired consistency.
- Use immediately or store in a wide-mouth pint mason jar or other airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Storage: This dairy free pesto will keep in a wide-mouth pint mason jar in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 1 year. I store my dairy free pesto in wide-mouth pint mason jars since they’re freezer friendly!
- Browning: To prevent the top of the pesto sauce from turning brown as it sits in the fridge (oxidizing), pour on enough olive oil to cover the whole top. This will prevent oxygen from reaching the pesto sauce and will keep it green. Not necessary– for looks only.
- Freezing: This dairy-free pesto sauce freezes beautifully. I use wide-mouth pint mason jars to store them because they are freezer-friendly. I thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and I can enjoy fresh pesto even in the middle of winter!
- Ice Cube Trays: You can also freeze pesto in silicone ice cube trays to have a perfect portion of sauce whenever you need it!
- Batches: I highly recommend you make a bunch of batches in the summer because that is when basil is at its peak freshness. For this reason, I plant lots of basil in my garden and also buy it in bulk at the farmer’s market.
- Roasted Nuts: If your pine nuts are raw, roast them in a 350ºF oven for 5-8 minutes until golden brown.
- Lemon Juice: Some recipes call for lemon juice to add brightness, but I did not use it in this recipe. If preferred, add 1-2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice.
- Nutritional Yeast: If you are really craving that cheesy flavor without the dairy, add 3-4 tbsp of nutritional yeast. This will add a yummy, cheesy, and nutty flavor, but it’s totally optional.
Yes! I’ve made this basil pesto with almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans and pistachios. Each nut gives a tasty and unique flavor. Feel free to use whichever nut you have on hand in the same quantity.
Add more olive oil until you reach your desired consistency.
Yes! All five ingredients are both dairy free and vegan.
This dairy free and vegan pesto sauce is just 1 net carb per serving, making it low carb and keto friendly.
Yes, this pesto is Whole30 compliant and a great way to jazz up any meal while on the program.
More Pesto Recipes
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5-Minute Dairy Free Pesto
- 2 packed cups basil leaves
- 1/2 cup olive oil, may need 1 to 2 tablespoons more to reach consistency you desire
- 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted pine nuts (or pecans, almonds or walnuts!)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- In a food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and salt. Pulse until all the ingredients are finely chopped. Add in the olive oil, and blend until combined. If needed, add in more olive oil until desired consistency.
- To prevent the top of the pesto sauce from turning brown as it sits in the fridge (oxidizing), pour on enough olive oil to cover the whole top. This will prevent oxygen reaching the pesto sauce, and will keep it green. Not necessary, for looks only.
- Will keep in a wide mouth pint mason jar in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 1 year. I store my dairy free pesto in wide mouth pint mason jars since they're freezer friendly!
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