Among the best fruits of summer’s labor are the herbs and vegetables. The harvest of basil is short, so seize the opportunity to have it garden fresh and make some pesto. This no-compromise vegan pesto recipe is inspired by traditional pesto and offers all the same tastes and texture, but cruelty-free and without any saturated fat. That’s right – healthy pesto!
Fresh basil, growing on our deck, ready for harvest.
You Can Grow Your Own for Amazing Vegan Pesto
If you have just a little bit of outdoor space, or a nice sunny spot inside, growing your own is so easy and requires just a little attention. Get seedlings in the Spring and a medium sized pot and you will have the freshest available basil.
Basil pesto is not an exact science. If you have a favorite recipe that uses parmesan cheese, just substitute nutritional yeast for a vegan alternative. I love pine nuts, but because they are often expensive, I don’t always have them on hand. I have used walnuts, almonds, cashews and sunflower seeds and have never been disappointed. So feel free to experiment with this simple, basic, recipe and discover your own new tastes!
Doesn’t that look delicious? Get the pasta on, it’s almost time to eat!
Serving suggestion: We love to also sprinkle a little “vegan parmesan” from Minimalist Baker on top for serving.
But, whether you are inclined to experiment, or simply just want some vegan pesto, right now, here is our recipe:
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (more or less to taste)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (or a combination of available nuts)
- 2 cups firmly packed basil leaves (if you’re a little short, some fresh parsley can be added to get the right quantity)
- 1/4-1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp lemon juice, optional
- Place the nuts, the whole garlic cloves, and the nutritional yeast in the food processor and let it run until the cloves are crushed. I am always looking for ways to use less time and utensils, so this works for me.
- Add the basil and salt, and run it briefly
- Then add the oil. My processor has a hole in the top and I pour it in in a stream. You may need to scrape down the sides a few times.
- Run until completely blended. It should yield about 1 and 1/2 cups.