Posted in Recipes on 28.02.2019
Vegan Pesto Recipe
prep: 5 mins / cook: 0 mins / inactive: 0 mins / total: 5 mins / quantity: 1 small jam jar Print recipe?
Taking just 5 minutes to make, this vegan pesto recipe couldn’t be simpler, tastier or more versatile!
Ordinarily, shop bought pesto isn’t vegan because it contains Parmesan cheese. The vegan cheese options ARE getting much much better and Violife Prosociano Wedge (a vegan parmesan alternative) is pretty darn close to the real thing. However, it’s not readily available to everyone (yet!) so for this vegan pesto recipe I’ve used nutritional yeast.
If you’ve not encountered nutritional yeast (often referred to as ‘nooch’) before you might be wondering what the heck yeast is doing in pesto! Nutrional yeast is the same yeast you normally use to make bread except it’s deactivated by cooking. This essentially kills the yeast but leaves you with lovely flavourful yeast flakes. It gives a wonderful cheesy/nutty kick and is a vegan favourite for adding depth of flavour to so many dishes.
Pesto sauce can also be a wide and varied thing – using anything from kale to broccoli to spinach and all variety of nuts.
For this pesto recipe though, I’m keeping it traditional with basil and pine nuts.
Fresh basil has to be my favourite herb for both smell and flavour. Oh and colour! That beautiful vibrant green is always present on my kitchen windowsill!
And I can eat pine nuts by the fist full. I say that like I can’t eat most nuts that way. They ARE high in fat though but this simple pesto recipe goes such a long way I tend not to worry too much!
Pesto is such a simple thing to make too – and packs a real punch of flavour compared to shop bought! There’s just 7 ingredients – all of which are there for one reason only. Flavour.
Basil – the base of any traditional pesto recipe.
Garlic – because there’s few savoury dishes that aren’t made better with garlic!
Pine Nuts – sublimely creamy little nuts with a mild but distinctive flavour as well as helping to thicken pesto sauce.
Nutritional Yeast – for an extra nutty/cheesy kick.
Lemon juice – for zing and freshness.
Oil – for balance and liquid.
Salt – to lift and bring everything together.
This vegan pesto recipe is SO versatile too. In the photo above I’ve just stirred it through some cooked baby potatoes along with vegan mayonnaise, sliced spring onions and a good few grinds of black pepper. This is THE perfect potato salad – rich, creamy and the basil pesto gives it such a lift in flavour. Even Phil who doesn’t like mayonnaise ate this!
In the photo below I’ve done no more than stir it through some cooked rigatoni – which is just as good cold as it is warm!
I promise you, once you’ve made your own vegan pesto you’ll find shop bought ones lacking in real depth of flavour. So now this pesto recipe is your new kitchen best friend, here’s a few more ways to use it:
- Crispy Coconut Cauliflower and Prawn Style Tacos – big, hearty, filled to bursting tacos, slathered in vegan pesto.
- Broccoli, Sweet Potato and Pesto Pies – dinky little mini pies perfect for lunch boxes and picnics.
- Green Split Pea and Pesto Stuffed Conchiglie – full on flavour and vegan protein packed stuffed pasta shells
- Pesto and Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms – summer on a plate!
- Vegetable Lasagne – the pesto is swirled into the top layer of vegan cheese sauce and is SO freakin yum!!
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Vegan Pesto Recipe
prep: 5 mins / cook: 0 mins / inactive: 0 mins / total: 5 mins / quantity: 1 small jam jar
- 2 cups (20g / 2 large handfuls) fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 lemon – juice only
- 1/3 cup (50g) pine nuts
- 3-4 cloves garlic – peeled
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tblsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup (50ml) oil – I use either olive, avocado or macadamia nut oil
- Food processor or blender – I used this Magimix
- Simply put all the ingredients into your food processor bowl or blender cup and whizz until smooth and creamy!
- Spoon into a clean glass jar and store in the fridge (see note)
- Pesto is something I use very regularly so it doesn't tend to last long! It should keep happily in the fridge for a couple of weeks and maybe sterilising the storage jar before using will help prolong its life!
Some products I used in today's post...
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Hello and welcome to The Cook & Him.
We are Sam (The Cook), Phil (Him) and our little dog Nooch. What started with a plan to shed a few pounds back in 2016, soon became obvious that eating healthy doesn’t have to be bland and boring.
So, combining Sam’s 15 years of experience working within Michelin starred restaurants and our love for deliciously healthy food, we’re creating recipes for you to make and enjoy. We’ve added our own unique spin on traditional and contemporary vegetarian and vegan recipes that keep you (and your pets!) healthy and full. And we make sure they just work.
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