Vegan Basil Pesto Recipe

This vegan pesto is a delicious, dairy free, basil pesto recipe that’s super easy to make and will leave you wanting more! This is my favorite vegan basil pesto and I hope it will be yours as well.


small, metallic cup of vegan basil pesto on a table in front of a white bowl of vegan pesto pasta.

I’m a life long pesto lover. I love pesto in all it’s types and flavors, particularly a good basil pesto recipe.

But pesto isn’t vegan, and initially, this news broke my heart.

Why is pesto not vegan?

The reason that vegans cannot eat pesto is because a classic basil pesto recipe includes Parmesan cheese which, as you may know, is a dairy product.

But I have great news! If you love basil pesto, you don’t have to give it up just because you no longer eat dairy products!

In fact, I’m here to tell you that vegan pesto tastes even better without the Parmesan!! It’s true!



The key to creating a basil pesto recipe without dairy is to make one simple ingredient swap. All that is required is to replace the cheese with soaked cashews. Honestly, it is that simple! As a result, you will have a vegan pesto that is even better than the classic version!

In fact, if I didn’t already know there are cashews in this basil pesto, I wouldn’t be able to tell. The flavor is nearly identical to a dairy-based basil pesto. The truth is, this may be the best basil pesto recipe I have ever made, and I am pretty confident that you’ll enjoy it too. 🙂

homemade basil pesto recipe in a bowl tossed with pasta

How long does vegan pesto last?

This pesto stays fresh in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days. If you don’t think you will use an entire batch within that time, just freeze some of it. I have a great kitchen hack for freezing pesto:

  1. Freeze the pesto in an ice cube tray.
  2. After  it is frozen solid, remove the cubes of pesto from the tray.
  3. Place the cubes into a zip-top freezer bag and store it in the freezer for up to 4 months.

It is so convenient to have homemade pesto on hand and ready to use in dishes like pesto pasta and Greek Pasta Salad.


Copyright information for Last Minute Vegan


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homemade basil pesto recipe in a bowl tossed with pasta
Vegan Pesto with Basil and Cashews
Prep Time
10 mins
Overnight Soaking
10 hrs
Total Time
10 mins

This basil pesto recipe makes a delicious, dairy free, vegan pesto that's super easy to make and will leave you wanting more! This could seriously be my best vegan recipe yet!

Course: Condiment, Sauce
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: basil pesto recipe, vegan pesto
Servings: 20 servings
Calories: 50 kcal
Author: Last Minute Vegan
  • 2 cups fresh basil (firmly packed for measuring)
  • 1 cup cashews (soaked overnight)
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup olive oil
  1. Soak the nuts overnight in some fresh water and then drain the water off. The yield the next day will be more than a cup, but that's okay. Use them all in this recipe.

  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. You can adjust the salt and garlic to your liking or even the oil if you want a runnier consistency. But these measurements make a good pesto sauce as is. The rest is up to your personal tastes.
  3. If this makes too much for you to use up right away, freeze in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, pop out the cubes and transfer to a freezer-safe container for storage. You can freeze this up to 6 months.

Recipe Notes

Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Pesto with Basil and Cashews
Amount Per Serving (2 tbsp.)
Calories 50 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 97mg4%
Potassium 67mg2%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 0g0%
Sugar 0g0%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 125IU3%
Vitamin C 0.4mg0%
Calcium 8mg1%
Iron 0.6mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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