spoonful being taken out of a bowl with pesto in it, white background.
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Simple Vegan Pesto

A vegan pesto recipe that is so simple to make with only 5 ingredients ( + salt/water ). Cashews are used in place of pine nuts and cheese for a budget friendly option. Oil free.
Course Entree, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 107kcal
Author Nora Taylor

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2-3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 cups fresh basil, loosely packed
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water
  • Optional: 8 ounces pasta

Instructions

  • To a food processor, add the cashews, garlic, basil, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt and 1/4 cup water. Process until smooth, adding more water as desired for a thinner consistency. 
  • If serving with pasta, cook the noodles according to package instructions, then toss with the pesto, adding more water as needed to thin the pesto.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Pesto also freezes well for up to 6 months. I freeze it in an ice cube tray, then pop the cubes out and stick them in a ziplock freezer bag or container.

Notes

  1. This vegan pesto goes great with any kind of pasta, on pizza, as a dip with vegetables or pita chips, as a salad dressing (thinned out with water), or spread on a sandwich. 
  2. The pesto will thicken up in the refrigerator. Simply thin it out with water each time you use it, as needed.
  3. Allergic to cashews? Use pine nuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds or raw slivered almonds.

Nutrition

Calories: 107kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 198mg | Potassium: 206mg | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 0.8% | Iron: 7.7%