Vegan Walnut Pesto
This vegan walnut pesto recipe is a staple that will take any dish to the next level. Top your pizza, fold it into pasta, toss it through veggies, or simply use it as a dip. The options are endless!
This walnut pesto is ready in no time and is the perfect vibrant and healthy addition to your kitchen.
Using only a handful of ingredients and taking no more than 10-minutes to make, you’ll be surprised how much flavour can come out of so few ingredients!
Why would pesto not be vegan?
Traditionally, pesto uses parmesan cheese, which makes regular pesto not vegan-friendly. Cheese adds creaminess, richness, umami, and saltiness.
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The best substitute for dairy cheese is nutritional yeast to bring out the ‘cheesy’ notes in the pesto.
It isn’t overpowering in this recipe; however, it can be left out and still taste great!
Uses for this vegan pesto recipe
If you want a condiment in your fridge that can be added to pretty much anything and make it delicious, you can’t go past this dairy-free pesto. Here are a few suggestions of how to use it.
- Added to soup
- Mixed through pasta or veggie noodles
- Created as a dressing for salad
- Tossed through steamed or roasted veggies
- Spread on toast or used to make garlic bread
- Tossed through beans and lentils
- Topping for these chickpea pancakes
- Spread on sandwich or burger
- Topping on a pizza
- Tossed through gnocchi or ravioli
- Used as a dip with veggies or crackers
- Brushed over corn on the cob
- Stirred through hummus for a pesto hummus
- Added to potato salad
- Folded into savoury muffin batter or other dough
- Topping for your buddha bowls
- Tossed through bocconcini cheese balls
- Added to a tart
I could go on and on, but I’ll leave it there. You get the point. The options just keep on going!
A versatile recipe that can be altered very easily
With a recipe like this one, you can modify it to suit your needs and use what you have on hand. The recipe I’ve shared is a great base recipe for a basic walnut pesto. However, you can take it in so many different directions.
- Like it tangy? Add more lemon juice or zest.
- Like it spicy? Add in pepper flakes or chilli powder.
- Want to use up other leafy herbs or greens? Swap out some of the basil for baby spinach, coriander/cilantro, parsley, a bit of mint, and even blanched kale.
- Don’t have walnuts or are allergic? Other nuts and seeds that can be used in place of walnuts:
- Hemp seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pine nuts
- Pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas)
- Want a creamy pesto? Add vegan mayonnaise, half an avocado (mashed first), or mix it through our savoury cashew cream.
Tips for making vegan pesto
It’s super easy to make this dairy-free condiment; however, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of this recipe.
- Make this pesto when you have an abundance of basil and save it for the whole year. Freeze it in ice cubes and toss them through your dish. No need to thaw if you’re adding it to a warm base. It will melt pretty easily.
- Drain the basil well before using so that’s it’s not too wet.
- Be sure to blend all the ingredients without the oil and water first, otherwise you won’t be able to get a smooth sauce – unless you prefer your pesto a little chunky.
- It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Top it with olive oil to stop it from browning (as it traps the air) and it will keep for longer.
- See notes above for modifications.
This is the perfect sauce to experiment with ratios of ingredients to suit your liking. I love it balanced with the umami, saltiness, freshness, and tanginess with how I’ve created it.
I can’t believe it has taken me this long to share a vegan pesto recipe with you. I make it all the time to add to meals, and yet I haven’t shared my go-to staple with you! Well, the time has finally come, and you can enjoy this great basics recipe as much as I do.
The best part is, you’ll never want to buy store-bought pesto again!
Other delicious recipes you’ll love:
- Vegan Spinach Crepes with Pesto Mushrooms (Gluten-Free)
- Easy Garlic Parsley Sauce
- Savoury Cashew Cream
- Vegan Chickpea Pancakes With a Creamy Pesto Dressing (Gluten-Free)
- Romesco Dip (Gluten-Free)
- Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Easy Vegan Tomato Tarts with Pesto
If you try this recipe, let me know! We’d love for you to leave a comment and rating below. If you want to go that extra mile, tag us on Instagram or share your photo of the recipe on Pinterest.Print
Vegan Walnut Pesto
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
This easy vegan walnut pesto is bursting with flavour and vibrant colour. Add it to your pasta, roasted or sauteed veggies, use it as a dip, or top any meal to take it to the next level.
- 2 cups / 70g (tightly packed) fresh basil, washed and drained well
- ⅓ cup / 30g walnuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (freshly squeezed is best)
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- Pepper, to taste (optional)
- Add all the ingredients to a small food processor and blend until you reach the desired texture. Add 1-3 tablespoons of water to achieve the desired consistency. I added 2 tablespoons for the consistency you see in the photos.
- Adjust seasoning or other components to taste.
- Add to a jar and top with olive oil to store for later in the fridge or enjoy straight away.
Save it for later? It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Top it with olive oil to stop it from browning (as it traps the air), and it will keep for longer. You can also freeze it in ice cubes and toss them through your dish.
Want a smooth pesto? Be sure to blend all the ingredients without the oil and water first; otherwise you won’t get a smooth sauce.
- Diet: Vegan
I really appreciate your substitutions, your suggestions on freezing and how long it will keep in the fridge, but also the tips about not blending with oil until last and to pour the oil on top! There are a bunch of vegan pesto recipes out there, but this one stands out with all your helpful tips and ways to make it versitle! Definitely keeping this one, THANK YOU!!
Glad you appreciate it, Susan! Thanks for sharing x