Fresh basil, creamy pine nuts, vegan parmesan, and olive oil come together for the BEST Vegan Pesto made in minutes!
Vegan Pesto: Creamy, Herby, Delicious.
Beautiful, bountiful, and bold green: there’s just something about fresh basil that brightens the entire day. Today, we’re making deliciously homemade Vegan Pesto with a few fresh ingredients for creamy, herby deliciousness you can put on pasta, bread, and everything in between!
Vegan pesto is one of the easiest vegan sauces to make because it requires just a few steps and no cooking!
- Fresh basil. Use the freshest basil for the best vegan pesto. Get leaves that are bright green, plump, and not bruised.
- Garlic. Fresh garlic is best.
- Pine nuts. You can swap pine nuts with walnuts, almonds, or your favorite nuts.
- Vegan parmesan. I love the creamy cheesiness that vegan parmesan adds. However, you can use nutritional yeast to taste if desired.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper
What is Pesto?
Pesto is a pureed sauce that’s uncooked and used as a topping on bread, sauce for pasta and more. 
Originating from the Genoa region of Italy, pesto is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle. 
Fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and parmesan are added to the mortar. Then, the pestle is used to grind the ingredients together into a sauce.  Sometimes, garlic, salt, and other ingredients are used.
Is Pesto Vegan?
- Is Pesto vegan? Not usually, no.
- Why isn’t pesto vegan? Most pesto recipes are made with freshly-grated parmesan, which is an animal product.
- Is this vegan pesto recipe actually vegan? In today’s vegan pesto recipe, we’ll be using dairy-free parmesan that’s also vegan.
How to Make Vegan Pesto
Pesto is one of those recipes that seems way more difficult than it is. Also, the more times you make vegan pesto, the easier and more comfortable you’ll be with getting the just-right texture.
First, add all peeled garlic, half of the fresh basil, pine nuts, vegan parmesan, and salt and pepper to a food processor. This is the food processor I use.
Blend until all the vegan pesto ingredients are finely chopped.
Second, add the rest of the fresh basil.
We add the basil in two segments to avoid over-blending it for a well-balance texture in this vegan pesto. (It’s not too chunky, or too smooth.)
Third, blend past the chunky phase and stop when you get a paste-like consistency. The left photo below is too chunky, while the right photo is just right.
Keep in mind that you might like to keep it chunky for a thicker texture. I like my vegan pesto on the smoother side.
Fourth, while running the food processor on low with the lid on, slowly add oil to the feed tube (the open chimney in the lid).
Blend until creamy and emulsified.
Here’s a super closeup photo of the pesto to show you the texture. I like my vegan pesto on the creamier side with a lightly chunky texture. You can adjust this according to your taste.
Demeter’s Tips for the Best Vegan Pesto
- Blend for the texture you like. I’ve included my personal preference on how much blending you’ll have to do to get your vegan pesto on the smoother, creamier end. You can blend less for chunkier pesto, more for smoother pesto.
- Give yourself time to learn. It’s tempting to try to make this vegan pesto perfect the first time, but practice makes yummy! The more you make this pesto, the easier and more suited to your liking it’ll be.
- Keep your vegan pesto fresh. Remember to cover the pesto with a layer of olive oil to protect it from oxidizing. You can also set a layer of plastic wrap directly on top of the pesto before sealing the jar to minimize air exposure.
- Use fresh basil. The fresher the basil, the longer your vegan pesto will keep. Plus, the brighter green it’ll be.
- Avoid exposing your basil to heat. Have you ever placed fresh basil on a steaming bowl of pho? It immediately discolors because it’s oxidized! 😉 Keep your basil raw and fresh by avoiding heat exposure. (Same goes with intense cold.)
- Increase or decrease the garlic to your liking. I love garlic, but not as much as others. Haha. You can double the garlic or even triple it if you’re a huge garlic fan. Or, leave it out if you hate garlic.
How to Store Vegan Pesto
Store vegan pesto in a small, airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Use a jar with the least amount of leftover space in it to keep the pesto fresh.
Remember to cover the pesto with a layer of olive oil before storing to keep it from oxidizing and turning brown!
You can also freeze this pesto recipe for 1-3 months in the freezer.
- Blistered Green Beans
- Maple Glazed Carrots
- Roasted Potatoes and Carrots
- Vegan Brussels Sprout Recipe
- Garlic Confit 🧄
Tools You Need
This Pesto is the Besto!
See for yourself… 😉 If you make this vegan pesto recipe, be sure to leave a comment and rating, it helps everyone who visits Beaming Baker so much. ‘Til our next kitchen adventure…
Sending you all my love and maybe even a dove, xo Demeter ❤️Print
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