This Easy Vegan Pesto Recipe is packed with tons of fresh basil and spinach and is perfect for all your pasta needs and more! It’s so fresh and flavorful!
I make a batch of this homemade Vegan Pesto Sauce a few times a month and love to have it on hand for all my pesto needs! While pesto is traditionally served with pasta, I also love to put it on pizza, avocado toast, rice and buddha bowls.
I used to buy jarred pesto at the grocery store (there are a lot of vegan versions out there) but after I started making my own, I will never buy it again! Homemade vegan pesto has so much more flavor than store-bought and it just happens to be super easy to make!
What Is Pesto Sauce?
Pesto, or pesto alla genovese, is a sauce made with basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese and olive oil. It originated in Genoa, Italy and is traditionally served with pasta but I love to put it on so many different things!
My Vegan Pesto Sauce Recipe tastes really similar to regular pesto and I think you will love it!
Vegan Pesto Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions
- Basil – Fresh basil is a must when making pesto! It’s great if you have some homegrown basil but if not, you can almost always find a package of fresh basil at the grocery store. For this recipe I was able to find a large and affordable package of basil at Trader Joe’s.
- Spinach – I like to use a mix of basil and spinach because it makes this vegan basil pesto much more affordable. Basil has a very strong flavor so even when you use less basil than spinach, the basil flavor still overtakes everything, in a good way!
- Nutritional Yeast – Nutritional yeast replaces the parmesan cheese in this vegan pesto recipe. It makes it nice and creamy while also giving it a cheesy flavor.
- Garlic – You can add as much or as little garlic as you like. I usually add about 3 cloves of fresh garlic to my pesto because I love the strong garlic flavor!
- Lemon Juice – Fresh lemon juice is a great addition to pesto because it adds some nice citrus flavor and helps keep the pesto nice and bright.
- Miso Paste – I’ve been adding miso paste to my vegan pesto for years now and I love it! It gives a nice umami flavor and helps balance out all the other flavors. I use a light yellow miso paste but red miso would probably work too.
- Cashews – I’m not a huge fan of the flavor of pine nuts so I usually add either cashews or walnuts to my pesto sauce. You can really add whatever kind of nut you like though. Try toasting your nuts to add even more flavor!
- Salt – To taste.
- Olive Oil – Use a good olive oil that you enjoy the flavor of because it will shine through in the pesto sauce.
How To Make Easy Vegan Pesto Sauce
As the recipe title states, this Vegan Pesto Sauce is so easy to make:
- Add all ingredients, except for the olive oil, to a food processor.
- Turn the food processor on and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Depending on your preference, you may want to add less or more olive oil than I did. I prefer my pesto sauce to be on the thicker (less oil) side but you can put in however much you like.
- Blend pesto until all the ingredients are broken down and a sauce has formed.
- Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 8 days.
Homemade Pesto Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I use all basil instead of both basil and spinach? Yes! I just prefer to use both because basil is more expensive than spinach so it saves me money using a mixture of both.
- What can I use instead of spinach? Kale would be great, or just use extra basil.
- Can I use an herb besides basil? Yes! I love to make pesto with other fresh herbs such as cilantro, mint and parsley.
- Can I make this pesto nut free? Of course! Just omit the nuts, no need to replace with anything.
- Can the vegan pesto be frozen? Yes, freeze in an airtight container and add a tablespoon or so of oil on top of the pesto before freezing.
- How long will the pesto stay good in the refrigerator? The pesto sauce stays good in the refrigerator for about 5-8 days.
Have a Vegan Pesto question that I didn’t answer? Ask me in the comment section below and I will get back to you ASAP!