I’m excited to share my favorite basil vegan pesto recipe with you today. This pesto is so rich, nutty and complex, you would never guess that it isn’t the traditionally parmesan-filled stuff!
Instead of pine nuts (expensive) and parmesan cheese, I used cashews and nutritional yeast. Cashews and nutritional yeast are often used in vegan cheeses, so they gave the pesto a well-rounded nutty flavor – without breaking the bank! The lemon juice added a touch of brightness and the fresh garlic a bit of heat.
This pesto is easy to make – yet so complex and decadent – it instantly classes up any dish. Enjoy in a fresh Spring Pasta Primavera (recipe coming soon), use as a dip for veggies or spread on toasted baguette slices.
Simple Basil Pesto
- 4 oz basil (about 2 cups, packed)
- 1 medium lemon, juiced
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 cup cashews
- 2 cloves garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Remove basil leaves from the stems and add to a food processor.
- Add lemon juice, nutritional yeast, olive oil, cashews and garlic, and blend, stopping to scrape the sides occasionally. Blend until desired consistency – I like my pesto well-blended, but with some texture. (I recommend using the pulse option towards the end as you’ll have more control with consistency.)
- Season with salt and pepper and pulse to incorporate. Enjoy!