Let the herbs do the talking in this dairy free pesto recipe! You don't need cheese or nutritional yeast to make a delicious vibrant green sauce. With loads of fresh basil, robust olive oil, garlic, and pine nuts, this pesto is perfect for pastas, pizzas, vegetables, salad dressings, and more!
With fresh basil and lots of flavor, this herby sauce is the quintessential summer accompaniment.
Most traditional pesto sauces are made with a hard cheese like Romano or Parmesan cheese. Many dairy free pesto recipes will use nutritional yeast to add a hint of cheesy flavor. I personally don't think it's even needed! The basil, the olive oil, the pine nuts all combine to make an flavor packed vegan pesto sauce themselves.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Basil - Fresh basil leaves are best! Basil is in season around the summer time during the months of June through September. Check your local grocery store as most will have fresh basil plants for sale in the produce section.
- Olive oil - Use a robust extra virgin olive oil for more flavor. You can use avocado oil if desired but the taste will be a little more muted.
- Lemon juice - Like the basil, fresh is best.
- Garlic - One large clove of garlic will do the trick! You can also use two cloves garlic it they are on the smaller side.
- Pine nuts - This is what give the pesto structure. Swap with walnuts or cashews if desired.
How to make basil pesto
Pesto is actually super easy to make. You really only need a food processor or high speed blender.
Add all the ingredients to the processor and blend on high until well mixed. You don't want any large chunks of basil or garlic so you might need to scrape down the sides a time or two to make sure it's all blended up well.
How to Store
Can I Freeze Pesto
You can freeze dairy-free pesto for up to a month when stored in a freezer-safe container. When ready to enjoy, let the pesto thaw at room temperature until defrosted and use as desired. Once the pesto is defrosted, store the rest in the fridge, don't put it back in the freezer.
You can also use ice cube trays and freeze the pesto into cubes for individual servings.
- Fresh is best in this recipe! Fresh basil, fresh garlic, fresh lemon juice all provide strong natural flavoring to the dairy-free pesto sauce.
- Use fresh, vibrant green basil. If the basil leaves are limp or starting to turn brown, the basil is a little too ripe.
- Be sure to scrape down the sides of the food processor or blender a few times as little bits of basil and garlic may not have been fully blended up.
What to serve with dairy free pesto
There is a plethora of things you can serve with this vegan pesto recipe! Here are a few of my favorites:
- Use it as a dressing for grilled veggies
- Toss it over pasta or spaghetti squash for an easy dish
- Use it as a spread on pizza
- Spread it on crispy slices of bread for herb-filled sandwiches
- Add a dollop on a caprese salad
- Toss pulled chicken with pesto for an easy protein
- Drizzle some on top of shrimp or salmon
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, traditional pesto has parmesan or romano or another hard cheese blended into the sauce.
I don't think you even need it! I let the herbs and spices do the talking in this dairy free pesto recipe but you can also use 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast if you want a little cheesy flavor.
Most pesto has cheese in it which makes is not vegan.
Most pestos are gluten free but it's always best to check the nutritional label.
Check out these other summer-forward recipes:
PS : If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a star review and comment below! Also be sure to follow along with me on Instagram and Pinterest to stay up to date on all tasty recipes here at The Fit Peach!
Dairy free Pesto
- 1 cup basil - fresh, packed
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoon pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice - fresh is best
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Add the basil, olive oil, pine nuts, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, garlic clove, and sea salt to a food processor or blender and blend until well combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides a few times to ensure all the ingredients are blended well.1 cup basil, ¼ cup olive oil, 3 tablespoon pine nuts, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 clove garlic, ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Pour the pesto into a container and store in the fridge until ready to use.