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  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes ¾ cup

Traditionally used as a pasta topper, homemade pesto adds a pop of fresh herbal flavor to lots of different dishes. Try drizzling it over grilled pizza, hearty grain bowls, or creamy tomato soup. This no-oil recipe rivals any store bought pesto you can find and will transform your meal into an Italian-inspired feast with each spoonful. 

Tip: Add the amount of plant milk you like to get the desired consistency. Pesto should be spreadable but not too runny!

Homemade Vegan Pesto in a glass jar on a white marble table

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons unsweetened, unflavored plant milk, such as almond, soy, cashew, or rice

Instructions

  1. Place cashews in a bowl; cover with boiling water. Let soak for 30 minutes; drain. Place cashews in a food processor with the next five ingredients (through salt). Cover and process until nearly smooth, adding plant milk 1 tablespoon at a time to reach desired consistency, and stopping to scrape sides of the processor as needed.
  2. To serve, toss 2 tablespoons of pesto with every 1 cup of hot cooked pasta. Or use as directed in recipes. Transfer extra pesto in an airtight container. Cover surface with plastic wrap; chill up to 2 days.

Comments (12)

(5 from 4 votes)
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Maureen Ward5 days ago
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Your recipes are great but you do not take into consideration People who have chronic kidney disease and have to limit their potassium…..so I would omit the nuts, but what to replace it with…..hmmm….

Bonnie6 days ago
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Has anyone made this without soaking the cashews? I made traditional pesto (with olive oil) and use many different types of nuts without soaking them. Only almonds were challenging because they are harder than most other nuts & don’t chop up as well. Just wondering why you would need to soak for this vegan version of the pesto?

judy1 day ago
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If you have a high speed vita mix you won’t have to but this small amount of nuts in a food processor may not process as smoothly without soaking.

Tricia6 days ago
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what can I substitute for the cashews without sacrificing the taste?

Lisa Notter3 days ago
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Most vegan recipes for cheese sauces etc I’ve seen can substitute chopped boiled potatoes or white beans for the cashews for a fat free, nut free version.

emily gordon1 month ago
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Easy and delicious

Sara2 months ago
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Just used water not plant milk, and a little miso paste instead of salt, was delicious! Am going to try making a tomato version with oven dried tomatoes

Peg2 months ago
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Looks good! What would be a good replacement for the nutritional yeast?

Lutice1 month ago
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I would omit the nutritional yeast, have been making pesto for years without cheese, it doesn’t need it.

Kerri2 months ago
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Can you freeze this?

Bonnie6 days ago
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I make regular pesto and freeze it for a year or more. It’s wonderful! Just seal well to keep it from getting freezer burned.

Liz Turner7 days ago
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Yes, it should freeze well for about a month. You can dollop it into ice cube trays or onto wax paper or parchment paper, let it freeze for several hours, then transfer it to a freezer-safe storage bag or airtight container.

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