Vegan Pesto

I've said this 100 times, but I'll say it again just in case you haven't caught the other 100 times I've said it: I'm not vegan or vegetarian, I just like to experiment with the recipes during the week to have healthier options. This week, I had some leftover basil that I didn't want to waste, so I decided a homemade pesto sounded great and opted to go vegan because I make healthy decisions where I can so queso tastes even better later.

*ALSO, be sure to add the oil a little at a time like she says because it's vital in the smooth ease of making this delicious, dairy-free pesto*

Vegan Pesto by The Minimalist Baker


  • 2 cups packed fresh basil (large stems removed)
  • 3 Tbsp pine nuts or walnuts (if nut-free, try sunflower seeds!)
  • 3 large cloves garlic (peeled)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3-4 Tbsp nutritional yeast (Trader Joe's sells it!)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or avocado oil)
  • 3-6 Tbsp water (plus more as needed)


  1. To a food processor or small blender, add the basil, nuts, garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and sea salt and blend/mix on high until a loose paste forms.

  2. Add olive oil a little at a time (streaming in while the machine is on if possible) and scrape down sides as needed. Then add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) water at a time until the desired consistency is reached - a thick but pourable sauce. (If avoiding oil altogether, sub the oil with vegetable broth or just use all water.)

  3. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor, salt for overall flavor, nuts for nuttiness, garlic for bite / zing, or lemon juice for acidity.

  4. Perfect for adding to sauces, dressings, breads, and more! My favorite recently has been adding it straight to zucchini or carrot noodles (see photo) for a beautiful, healthy side dish.

  5. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 1 week. After that, pour into ice cube molds, freeze, and store up to 1 month or more.