Easy Vegan Pesto made with walnuts that tastes amazing on pasta, veggies, sandwiches and beyond. Dairy free, quick to make, and delicious!
I got a basil plant this year. Her name is Cheryl.
Hi, Cheryl! She's growing like a weed. I got a cilantro and a parsley plant as well, but Cheryl is just slaying the game!
So today, in honor of sweet Cher, we're making perfect pesto with all of her gorgeous leaves. Not just any pesto, though...we're talkin' dairy-free pesto (sans the parm) so everyone can enjoy it.
I adore pesto. Always have. Bursting at the seams with fresh summer flavor and brain-boosting fats. So much to love! I get down with pesto this drizzled on avocado toast, stirred into pasta, on veggies, pizza, and sammies.
This super sauce transforms a boring pile of quinoa into a flavorful masterpiece. It elevates the heck out of roasted zucchini. FLAVOR. TOWN.
Why I love walnuts in pesto
Pesto is typically made with pine nuts, right? You betcha. Pine nuts are lovely, but they tend to be quite pricy and not something I keep on hand. It's funny that pesto is so common but pine nuts aren't.
So here we are with...walnuts! I freaking adore the nutty deliciousness of walnuts and I always have a bag on hand. They're a heart-healthy nut that we all could use more of!
Just be sure to store them (and all nuts, really) in the fridge or freezer versus the pantry. The delicate fats can go rancid really easily, so cold temps are best to extend their shelf life. They get bitter if the fats have gone bad, so you'll know!
You also don't want to over-blend pesto, which can bring out the bitterness as well.
- Basil: Oodles and oodles of fresh basil! A 2oz tub is your best bet if you don't have basil growing wild outside like I do. You can also throw in a handful of arugula for extra green and a peppery flavor punch.
- Walnuts: In lieu of pricy pine nuts, but either works! Store walnuts in the fridge.
- Hemp seeds: Love these for a protein boost, but you can easily sub more walnuts or hemp seeds.
- Extra virgin olive oil: For silky smooth pesto. You can do less oil and more water if you fancy. Feel free to mess around until you get the consistency you want!
- Lemon juice: Bright, fresh lemon juice for much needed acid. Flavor town, I tell you.
- Garlic: For a little bite and yummy garlic flavor. Mmmmm.
- Salt: Always.
- Water: To thin, as needed.
Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week. You can always brighten it with a spritz of lemon!
How to freeze
Freeze leftovers in an ice cube tray and defrost it as needed. It should last 1-3 months.
What is pesto not good on? I'm obsessed with drizzling it on avocado toast, pizza, pasta, sandwiches, veggies, and fish. I'm working on a sheet pan salmon and a potato salad recipe for you that both use this pesto!
I may not be good on cookies, but other than that...
To you, Cheryl!Print
Easy Vegan Pesto made with walnuts that tastes amazing on pasta, veggies, grains, potatoes, sandwiches and beyond. Dairy free, quick to make, and delicious!
- 2 cups basil, packed (2oz)
- ⅓ cup walnuts*
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds (can sub more walnuts)
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 garlic cloves
- ½ tsp fine sea salt, to taste
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp water
- Place all ingredients except oil and water in a food processor. Pulse several times, until ingredients are broken down, using a rubber spatula to scrape the sides.
- Stream in olive oil and blend again to combine. Add water to desired thinness. Taste and adjust salt if needed.
*You can also use pine nuts. Make sure your walnuts are fresh and stored in the refrigerator to prevent them going rancid. If the pesto has a bitter taste, it means either your walnuts have gone bad or you've over blended the pesto!
Store leftovers in an air-tight container for up to a week. Add a spritz of lemon as needed to brighten it up again.
You can also freeze leftovers in an ice cube tray and defrost it as needed. It should last 1-3 months.