All That You Should Know About Vegan Pesto

Vegan Pesto
Vegan Pesto
Vegan Pesto
Vegan Pesto

Sometimes, the foods that you least expect to be non-vegan might be vegan. It could also be the other way.

This article focuses on pesto, the traditional Italian sauce perfect for a whole lot of dishes starting from pizzas to pasta. Is pesto vegan? If it is about the traditional pesto, it is not vegan because the ingredients that go into its making are sourced from animals. Does that mean, pesto is a forbidden food for people on a vegan diet? No, vegans can enjoy various vegan pesto recipes, and we are going to cover some of them in this article.

Why Is Pesto Non-Vegan?

Traditional pesto recipes contain Parmesan cheese, an ingredient that is a misfit in vegan dishes. However, vegetarians that take dairy can include pesto in their meals. All of the ingredients used in a recipe have to be vegan for the dish to be regarded vegan.

Substituting Cheese With Lemon Juice In Pesto

Traditional pesto is made with basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil. The only non-vegan ingredient in the recipe is Parmesan cheese. All you have to do as a vegan is to find the perfect vegan substitute for the cheese to enjoy your pesto.

What Substitute To Use For Cheese In Pesto?

You have many options when it comes to cheese substitutes in pesto recipes. When you do not add cheese to pesto, the fresh flavor of basil can be noticed easily. Pick fresh lemon juice as the substitute for parmesan cheese in vegan pesto recipes so that all the fresh flavors remain intact.

Tips For Making The Best Vegan Pesto

If you want the perfect flavor for your pesto, add in a lot of basil leaves. To make a cup of pesto, you can use 6 cups of basil leaves.

Go for pine nuts or walnuts when making pesto. Traditional pesto recipes use pine nuts but they are not a viable option to all because of their high price. You may use walnuts instead. They contribute a buttery flavor to the pesto similar to that offered by pine nuts. Toast the nuts first to get rid of any bitterness and enhance their rich flavor.

Even if you have added lemon juice that has preservative properties, pesto will turn brown after a day. If you want to use the pesto for a week, you will have to pack it in a small container, pour a thin layer of olive oil over it, and store it in the refrigerator.

Vegan Pesto Recipe 

Here are the ingredients required for this vegan pesto recipe:

  • garlic-2 cloves
  • fresh basil-6 ounces
  • ½ cup raw pine nuts(or walnuts)
  • 1 Lemon of medium size
  • extra-virgin olive oil-1/3 cup
  • kosher salt-3/4 tsp

How To Prepare Vegan Pesto?

Here are the steps in making vegan pesto:

  1. Toast the nuts: Place a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350. Place the nuts on a baking sheet and toast them for 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Remove the toasted nuts from the oven and add them to a food processor. Crush them and let them cool.
  3. Add the garlic cloves to the food processor and coarsely chop them.
  4. Chop the basil leaves coarsely in the food processor.
  5. Add olive oil, lemon juice, and kosher salt to the food processor and process all the ingredients together.

The pesto should be a rough and uniform paste rather than having a watery consistency.

Recipe With Pesto Sauce 

Here is a recipe with pesto sauce you will love.

Broccoli And Pistachio Pesto Spaghetti

Here are the ingredients you will need for this recipe.

  • Whole wheat spaghetti-8 ounces
  • unshelled, unsalted pistachios-10 ounces
  • Broccoli-2 cups, chopped into small pieces
  • extra-virgin olive oil-1/2 cup
  • garlic-2 cloves
  • fresh mandarin orange juice-1/2 cup
  • crushed pistachios-1 tbsp
  • salt-1 tsp
  • chopped parsley-1 tablespoon
  • Chopped grape tomatoes (optional)
  • Water


  1. Add the ingredients, broccoli, pistachios, mandarin orange juice, garlic, salt, and olive oil in a blender. Blend them into a smooth paste by adding ¼ cup of water after pulsing a few times to crush the ingredients slightly.
  2. Boil water in a large cooking pot adding 1 tsp salt to it. Add in the spaghetti and cook it for about 10 minutes. Drain the spaghetti after it is cooked.
  3. Add the pesto sauce to the hot pasta and mix well. Add the parsley and tomatoes on top. Serve before it cools by adding crushed pistachios on top.

You can use vegan pesto sauce to make a variety of vegan dishes you will love.