Pesto is one of my favorite sauces for just about anything. Put it on pasta, use it as a pizza base, or even as a topping to falafel! I want to share with you how to make this creamy vegan pesto and why I add the ingredients I do. This way you can decide for yourself what to add and what can be skip.
This pesto is really easy to make, and it freezes really well. I tend freeze at least half of my pesto to save for a later date, so it doesn’t go bad in the fridge and I can have it on hand.
Ingredients for Creamy Vegan Pesto:
This is an easily modifiable recipe based on your food sensitivities or just preferences. This is a vegan recipe, where most pesto requires cheese, it’s not actually necessary! These are the ingredients I use, but you can modify!
Basil and Spinach – about 6 oz. I do a combination of both, mostly because my little basil plant won’t survive if I take all its leaves. The basil adds the flavor, while the spinach adds an easy bulk to the pesto while keeping it green. These are the main ingredients you don’t want to skip out on with vegan pesto!
Nuts – about 1/2 cup. The “typical” nut for pesto is pine nuts. Usually the substitute for pine nuts I use are cashews! They add about the same texture, and while still expensive, are a lot cheaper. Try to buy unsalted when buying these nuts – you don’t want the pesto to be extremely salty.
Avocado – half of one. This is my true secret for getting this basil to be so creamy – avocado adds the texture, and is not so powerful of a taste that it’s overpowering; it gets hidden by the main flavor that is the basil. You can skip out on avocado if you don’t have one or just want to skip it. The avocado just helps replace the creamy texture you normally would get from parmesan.
Olive Oil – about 4 tablespoons. I like using fancy olive oil for this recipe because it adds a bit of flavor to the recipe and also a creamier texture than other oils. I’ve also done this recipe with sunflower oil. It doesn’t have quite the same texture, but can be done if you don’t have olive oil on hand.
Salt – about 1/2 teaspoon. Because I can’t do corn products, I always use non-iodized sea salt, but that’s not entirely necessary. Just use what you have on hand.
Lime Juice – 1/2 of a lime. This one is not necessary for the recipe by any means, but any sort of acidity added will keep the color of the pesto bright green instead of it slowly turning a darker color in the fridge because of oxygen. Lemon juice could also be substituted for this.
Garlic – 2 cloves. Personally, I don’t use garlic. At least not lately. But it is a staple ingredient in pesto. So I’m adding it in as an optional ingredient for this recipe.
So you have all the ingredients and are ready to make this creamy vegan pesto? Let’s get started! This recipe requires either a blender, immersion blender, or a food processor.
1. Prepare the ingredients – cut the avocado in half, measure the olive oil, rinse off the basil and pesto, get your lime ready, and salt out.
2. Into your blender, add in the nuts, avocado, olive oil, lime juice, salt, and half of the greens (and garlic if using). I say start with half, mainly because there likely won’t be room for all of it at once.
3. Blend until there’s room for the remaining basil and spinach. Using a spatula, move the pesto off the blender wall and bring it back to the base. Add in the remaining greens. Blend until thoroughly combined and no big chunks of anything are remaining.
You might have to add in a tiny amount of water (1-2 tbsp) to get the sauce moving better in the blender and that’s completely fine!
Storage – Store in an airtight jar for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for a few months. The ones I put in the freezer I use my silicone muffin cups to freeze for easier thawing sizes.
The best part – eating this pesto! One of my favorite things to put this on is spaghetti squash, which is actually fairly easy to grow from seed.
Printer Friendly Recipe
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!