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4.93 from 26 votes

Simple Vegan Pesto

Learn how to make the most incredible vegan pesto with just 5 ingredients! Easily customize it to your liking, and stir into cooked pasta, use as a dip or make pesto pizza. It freezes beautifully, too!
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Entree, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 193kcal
Author: Nora Taylor


  • 3/4 cup raw cashews or pine nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups fresh basil, packed
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil omit for oil free
  • 1/4 cup water, plus more as needed

For pesto pasta

  • 8 ounces uncooked pasta of choice


  • To a food processor, add the cashews, garlic, basil, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, olive oil (if using) and 1/4 cup water. Process until smooth, adding more water as needed for a thinner consistency. If not using the oil, you will likely need an extra 1/4 cup water.
  • If serving with pasta, cook the noodles according to package instructions, then toss with the pesto, adding more water or olive oil as needed until it coats the noodles well.
  • 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.


  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 or olive oil each time you use it, as needed.
  3. Allergic to cashews? Use pine nuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds or raw slivered almonds.
  4. Switch up the pesto by using kale or arugula instead of basil, and maybe walnuts for the cashews. It's a very versatile recipe!


Serving: 1of 6 servings | Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 197mg | Potassium: 241mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 422IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 2mg