Easy, delicious, flavorful and so easy to whip together, this dairy free and vegan pesto recipe is the perfect addition to any meal. Serve it with some grilled chicken, pasta, in a sandwich or just as a simple spread on toast.
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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 is also great for those lazy nights, but this dairy free vegan pesto recipe with some pasta has been my favorite as of late.
This pesto is protein packed, 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? Serve it up with some pasta and grilled chicken for a simple weeknight meal!
The main ingredient in pesto is basil, so pesto tastes a lot like basil! With a garlicy and slight cheesey and nutty flavor, it’s a very savory and delicious sauce.
How to make this recipe
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 or sandwich, too!
Add the kale and garlic to a food processor and pulse a few times so they get broken up and you don’t end up with large chunks in the final sauce.
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.
What are the key ingredients?
The ingredients used in pesto sauces all vary, but generally speaking, pesto often contains basil, pine nuts, olive oil and parmesan as the star ingredients.
This is a dairy free and vegan pesto recipe, so we’ll be using a homemade cashew parmesan, plus a touch of kale (but this is optional), lemon, garlic, and of course salt & pepper.
Is it vegan friendly?
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?
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, but really any type of pasta will work.
What meat goes with pesto?
I love chicken or white fish with pesto, but even salmon is delicious. I love a good chicken pesto pasta. Three of my favorite foods in one! However, if you are plant based, you can use a legume or chickpea pasta to up the protein content of this dish.
Tips & tricks to make it perfectly
- This recipe can be served hot or cold! You do not need to heat the pesto sauce up before mixing it with the pasta.
- 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! If stored separately from the pasta, the pesto sauce will keep in the fridge for a full week. It may discolor slightly, but the lemon should prevent this from happening too much.
- You can use arugula in place of the kale if you prefer, though this will alter the taste slightly, but it is still delicious. You can also just leave it out entirely.
- I love to sprinkle on top some additional cashew parmesan to the final dish with fresh chopped basil.
Try these next!
- Creamy White Bean Pasta Sauce (Dairy Free)
- Easy Falafel Recipes (Vegan & Gluten Free)
- Crispy Baked Peanut Tofu Buddha Bowl
Easy Vegan Pesto
- 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.