Easy, delicious, flavorful and so easy to whip together, this vegan & dairy free pesto pasta makes the perfect weeknight dinner. It’s ready in only 20 minutes and even has some veggies snuck in there!
You know those days when you don’t really feel like eating vegetables or salad but know you probably should? Or when you’re feeling ultra lazy and don’t want to spend much time cooking? I always reach for my avocado chickpea salad in those cases.
Well, I’ve been having a lot of those days recently so I decided I needed to share a recipe on here for when other people feel the same way! This mushroom broccoli rigatoni with lemon garlic cream sauce is also great for those lazy nights, but this dairy free pesto has been my favorite as of late.
This pesto pasta is protein packed (especially if you use chickpea pasta), loaded with healthy fats, and only takes 20 minutes from start to finish. I mean, what more could you ask for on a Tuesday night?
How to make dairy free pesto pasta
Pesto is one of my favorite sauces/dips to make because it is so easy and packed with flavor. I generally serve it warm, but this pesto can also make a great sauce for a pasta salad, too!
- First, cook your pasta according to package instructions. I like to add a bit of salt and olive oil to the pasta water for extra flavor!
- While the pasta is cooking, add the kale and garlic to a food processor and pulse a few times so they get broken up.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients for the pesto to the food processor and process until smooth or leave a few larger chunks if desired.
- Taste and add extra basil, salt, lemon, or cashew parmesan if desired.
- Combine the pasta with the pesto and serve immediately!
All your questions about pesto, answered!
Can vegans eat pesto?
Most pesto sauces contain parmesan cheese, so they aren’t vegan friendly, but I opted to use cashew parmesan in this recipe so it is dairy free and can be enjoyed by all types of eaters!
What pasta is best with pesto?
Honestly, any type of pasta is the right type of pasta in my book! Rotini is great with pesto because the sauce gets into the groves of the pasta. I used rotini for this 20 minute hemp and lemon pesto, so I opted for penne for this recipe. When it comes to pasta, anything goes!
What meat goes with pesto?
I love chicken or white fish with pesto, but even salmon is delicious. Fun fact: I’ve never eaten red meat in my life so I’m a bit biased, but I do think chicken with pesto is a delicious option! However, if you are plant based, you can use a legume or chickpea pasta to up the protein content of this dish.
Is pesto sauce healthy?
Not all pesto is healthy, but this one definitely is! It is made with simple ingredients like basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and even has some veggies snuck into the mix. It has lots of healthy fats, protein, antioxidants, and even iron! This is a recipe you can feel good about eating!
A few final thoughts on this dairy free pesto
- I generally serve this recipe warm, but you can serve it cold like a pasta salad as well. You do not need to heat the pesto sauce up before mixing it with the pasta.
- As prepared, this pasta will keep in the fridge for about 3-5 days. I suggest heating it up on the stove for a few minutes with a splash of olive oil or veggie broth.
- You can make a double batch of the pesto and keep the leftover sauce for sandwiches, dips, or for chicken and buddha bowls throughout the week!
- You can use arugula in place of the kale if you prefer, though this will alter the taste slightly.
- I love to sprinkle on top some additional cashew parmesan to the final dish with fresh chopped basil.
Try these other easy dinner recipes next!
- Creamy White Bean Pasta Sauce (Dairy Free)
- Easy Falafel Recipes (Vegan & Gluten Free)
- Crispy Baked Peanut Tofu Buddha Bowl
Easy and delicious, this vegan pesto pasta is a family favorite!
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions.
- Add the kale (stems removed) and garlic to a food processor and pulse until broken up into fine pieces.
- Add all remaining ingredients and process until smooth, or leave a few chunks if desired.
- Taste and add more basil, lemon, or salt if desired.
- Toss with the cooked pasta and sprinkle with additional cashew parmesan.
Don’t be afraid to really pack the basil in there, this is where much of the flavor is coming from!
I like to use chickpea pasta to really up the protein content of this dish.
Keywords: vegan pesto pasta, dairy free pesto, kale pesto, vegan pesto