Easy Homemade Dairy-Free and Vegan Pesto Recipe | Tastes Lovely (2024)

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by Natalie on November 8, 2022 — updated November 27, 2023 // 72 Comments »

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5 from 17 ratings

This 5-ingredient, 5-minute dairy-free pesto recipe is the most delicious, vegan version of a beloved Italian staple! A freezer-friendly, classic pesto that the whole family will love! Serve with pasta, sandwiches, salads, and more.

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What Makes This Recipe Great

There is nothing better than homemade basil pesto– it’s truly one of my favorite sauces. The best part? Pesto feels like a super fancy pasta sauce but is actually super quick and easy to make! My easy Vegan Pesto Recipe is so delicious it will blow your mind that there is absolutely no dairy in it.

Traditional pesto is made with a whole bunch of parmesan cheese, but to make this pesto vegan, I left it out and added in a bit more salt. It tastes like everything you love about pesto– the same simple ingredients: fresh herbs, olive oil, pine nuts, and garlic cloves, and the same creamy texture–all without any dairy whatsoever! My go-to version that has the BEST flavor.

I have so many favorite ways to serve vegan basil pesto: on pasta, on sandwiches, and as a salad dressing. Or, use it in these delicious pesto recipes: Keto Summer Pasta with Pesto, Pesto Shrimp Kabobs, Keto Crispy Pesto Chicken, Pesto Meatballs, and more!

Recipe Highlights

  • 5 Minute Recipe
  • Simple, fresh ingredients
  • Vegan, Dairy Free, Whole30 & Keto Pesto Recipe
  • Use it for pasta, chicken, salad dressing, and more!

Watch How To Make Dairy Free Vegan Pesto

Ingredient Notes

  • Fresh Basil: This homemade vegan pesto recipe calls for 2 cups of fresh basil leaves. This is the main ingredient– the star of the show! Make sure you really pack the basil in when measuring. If you grow fresh basil plants at home– this is the perfect opportunity to use them.
  • Olive Oil: You may need 1 to 2 tablespoons more to reach the consistency you desire. For thinner pesto, add more olive oil. You can use extra virgin olive oil if preferred.
  • Pine Nuts: Use unsalted pine nuts (or whichever nut you have on hand.). You can find these at your local grocery store. Trader Joe’s carries them as well.
  • Garlic: Use fresh garlic cloves or a jar of minced garlic will also work.
  • Salt: Use more or less to taste.
Easy Homemade Dairy-Free and Vegan Pesto Recipe | Tastes Lovely (8)

Pesto Without Pine Nuts

Regular pesto sauce is most commonly made with pine nuts, which is my favorite nut to use because they’re nutty, slightly sweet, and taste delicious when toasted.

However, pine nuts are very pricey. You can easily swap in another nut and still have a delicious vegan pesto recipe.

I’ve made this basil pesto with almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans and pistachios. Each nut gives a tasty and unique flavor. Feel free to use whichever nut you have on hand.

Step-by-Step Instructions

My favorite way to make this pesto is in a food processor. It’s the easiest to scrape out because you can remove the whole blade. If you don’t have a food processor, a blender will work as well.

Easy Homemade Dairy-Free and Vegan Pesto Recipe | Tastes Lovely (9)
  1. In a food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and salt. Pulse until all the ingredients are finely chopped.
  2. Add in the olive oil and blend until combined. If needed, add in more olive oil until desired consistency.
  3. Use immediately or store in a wide-mouth pint mason jar or other airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Expert Tips

  • Storage: This dairy free pesto will keep in a wide-mouth pint mason jar in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 1 year. I store my dairy free pesto in wide-mouth pint mason jars since they’re freezer friendly!
  • Browning: To prevent the top of the pesto sauce from turning brown as it sits in the fridge (oxidizing), pour on enough olive oil to cover the whole top. This will prevent oxygen from reaching the pesto sauce and will keep it green. Not necessary– for looks only.
  • Freezing: This dairy-free pesto sauce freezes beautifully. I use wide-mouth pint mason jars to store them because they are freezer-friendly. I thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and I can enjoy fresh pesto even in the middle of winter!
  • Ice Cube Trays: You can also freeze pesto in silicone ice cube trays to have a perfect portion of sauce whenever you need it!
  • Batches: I highly recommend you make a bunch of batches in the summer because that is when basil is at its peak freshness. For this reason, I plant lots of basil in my garden and also buy it in bulk at the farmer’s market.
  • Roasted Nuts: If your pine nuts are raw, roast them in a 350ºF oven for 5-8 minutes until golden brown.
  • Lemon Juice: Some recipes call for lemon juice to add brightness, but I did not use it in this recipe. If preferred, add 1-2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice.
  • Nutritional Yeast: If you are really craving that cheesy flavor without the dairy, add 3-4 tbsp of nutritional yeast. This will add a yummy, cheesy, and nutty flavor, but it’s totally optional.
Easy Homemade Dairy-Free and Vegan Pesto Recipe | Tastes Lovely (10)

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this pesto without pine nuts?

Yes! I’ve made this basil pesto with almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans and pistachios. Each nut gives a tasty and unique flavor. Feel free to use whichever nut you have on hand in the same quantity.

What if my vegan pesto is too thick?

Add more olive oil until you reach your desired consistency.

Is this pesto dairy free and vegan?

Yes! All five ingredients are both dairy free and vegan.

Is this pesto keto friendly?

This dairy free and vegan pesto sauce is just 1 net carb per serving, making it low carb and keto friendly.

Is this recipe Whole30 compliant?

Yes, this pesto is Whole30 compliant and a great way to jazz up any meal while on the program.

More Pesto Recipes

Whole30 + Keto Caprese Pesto Salmon
Deliciously Crispy Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe (Keto)
Pesto Mahi Mahi (Paleo, Whole30)
Keto Pesto Chicken Salad
Keto Summer Pasta with Pesto

Did you love this recipe? Thank you! Please give this recipe a star rating and leave a review below. I respond to every one! Be sure to follow meon Instagram,Pinterest, TikTok, andFacebook. Tag me if you try a recipe!

Easy Homemade Dairy-Free and Vegan Pesto Recipe | Tastes Lovely (17)

5-Minute Dairy Free Pesto

This 5-ingredient, 5-minute dairy free pesto recipe is the most delicious homemade version of a beloved Italian staple! A freezer-friendly vegan pesto sauce that the whole family will love. Serve with pasta, sandwiches, salads, and more.

5 from 17 ratings

Print RecipePin RecipeLeave a Review

Ingredients

  • 2 packed cups basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, may need 1 to 2 tablespoons more to reach consistency you desire
  • 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted pine nuts (or pecans, almonds or walnuts!)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • In a food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and salt. Pulse until all the ingredients are finely chopped. Add in the olive oil, and blend until combined. If needed, add in more olive oil until desired consistency.

  • To prevent the top of the pesto sauce from turning brown as it sits in the fridge (oxidizing), pour on enough olive oil to cover the whole top. This will prevent oxygen reaching the pesto sauce, and will keep it green. Not necessary, for looks only.

  • Will keep in a wide mouth pint mason jar in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 1 year. I store my dairy free pesto in wide mouth pint mason jarssince they're freezer friendly!

Notes

Storage: This pesto will keep in a wide-mouth pint mason jar in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 1 year. I store my pesto in wide-mouth pint mason jars since they’re freezer friendly!

Browning: To prevent the top of the pesto sauce from turning brown as it sits in the fridge (oxidizing), pour on enough olive oil to cover the whole top. This will prevent oxygen from reaching the pesto sauce and will keep it green. Not necessary, for looks only.

Freezing: This vegan pesto sauce freezes beautifully. I use wide-mouth pint mason jars to store them because they are freezer friendly. I thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and I can enjoy fresh pesto even in the middle of winter!

Ice Cube Trays: You can also freeze pesto in silicone ice cube trays to have a perfect portion of sauce whenever you need it!

Batches: I highly recommend you make a bunch of batches in the summer because that is when basil is at its peak freshness. For this reason, I plant lots of basil in my garden and also buy it in bulk at the farmer’s market.

Roasted Nuts: If your pine nuts are raw, roast them in a 350ºF oven for 5-8 minutes, until golden brown.

Lemon Juice: Some recipes call for lemon juice to add brightness, but I did not use it in this recipe. If preferred, add 1-2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice.

Nutritional Yeast: If you are really craving that “cheesy” taste without the dairy, add 3-4 tbsp of nutritional yeast. This will add a yummy, cheesy flavor, but it’s totally optional.

Cuisine: American, Italian

Course: Condiment

Author: Natalie

Calories: 175, Total Carbs: 1.9g, Protein: 1.8g, Fat: 19g, Fiber: 0.5g, Net Carbs: 1g

Did you make this recipe?Please Leave a comment and give this recipe a rating!

This post contains affiliate links, thanks for the love!

15 Minutes Dairy Free Freezer Friendly Gluten Free Keto Low Calorie Paleo Recipes Spring Summer Vegetarian/Vegan Whole30

posted by Natalie on November 8, 2022

72 Comments / Leave a Comment »

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    72 Comments on “Easy Homemade Dairy-Free and Vegan Pesto Recipe”

  1. JenS April 16, 2023 @ 4:01 pm Reply

    Easy Homemade Dairy-Free and Vegan Pesto Recipe | Tastes Lovely (18)
    My new go to pesto recipe! You dont even miss the dairy. Love hoe quick and easy it is with minimal ingredients and maximum taste

    • Natalie May 26, 2023 @ 12:27 pm Reply

      Thank you! So glad you loved this recipe!

  2. Jen February 19, 2023 @ 6:53 pm Reply

    Easy Homemade Dairy-Free and Vegan Pesto Recipe | Tastes Lovely (19)
    I’ve made this several times, it’s so hood! Easy and quick & I don’t miss the cheese at all. My favourite way to eat it is on gnocchi with bacon.

    • Natalie March 6, 2023 @ 4:13 pm Reply

      Thank you, Jen! Pesto with gnocchi and bacon sounds DELISH!

  3. Pesto_and_Buffalo? September 1, 2022 @ 6:18 pm Reply

    This is our go-to pesto recipe! We drizzle a little paleo buffalo sauce on the prepared dish. Delicious!

    • Natalie September 13, 2022 @ 1:13 pm Reply

      Ooooh! The buffalo sauce drizzle is brilliant! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Sally June 22, 2022 @ 6:59 pm Reply

    Easy Homemade Dairy-Free and Vegan Pesto Recipe | Tastes Lovely (20)
    I used roasted pistachios and loved it! Tossed with roasted chicken, zucchini noodles and cashew cream. So good. Thanks!

    • Natalie July 7, 2022 @ 2:48 pm Reply

      Yum! Thanks, Sally! So glad you liked it!

  5. Kera May 11, 2022 @ 4:00 pm Reply

    How much does this make? And how much do you need to use. I realize this would be left up to personal taste….but what serving amount was used to figure out nutritional value?

    • Natalie May 19, 2022 @ 1:23 pm Reply

      It makes 2 cups, and the serving size is 2 tablespoons for the nutritional information. Hope you love it when you make it!

  6. terry April 9, 2022 @ 1:43 pm Reply

    I assume you store this in the fridge? Even though there is no dairy. How long does it last? Thanks, can’t wait to try it.

    • Natalie April 15, 2022 @ 7:49 pm Reply

      I store it in the fridge! It’s good for a while, at least 2 weeks. Or a year in the freezer!

  7. Karen Dempster September 6, 2021 @ 10:37 pm Reply

    Easy and yummy, didn’t miss the parmesan at all.

    • Natalie September 12, 2021 @ 9:36 am Reply

      Right?! I am so glad you liked this recipe!

  8. Nancy September 17, 2020 @ 1:55 pm Reply

    This recipe has made my dairy free life bearable! I have made it twice now and 😋! My husband just adds Parmesan after serving.
    Thank you!

    • Natalie September 18, 2020 @ 3:02 pm Reply

      I love thatyou have already made it twice Nancy. It is fantastic that your husband enjoys it too!

  9. Nikki September 6, 2020 @ 1:27 pm Reply

    I LOVE this recipe because it is the closest to the classic recipe I have used for years. Just swapped out the parmesan for more nuts! I used pecans in my latest batch and it’s amazing!! Thanks so much!

    • Natalie September 7, 2020 @ 7:43 am Reply

      I agree, it is fantastic with pecans Nikki. So glad you are enjoying it.

  10. Eileen September 2, 2020 @ 6:52 pm Reply

    Another A+ recipe! We planted basil in our garden for the first time this year and this recipe is the BEST pesto recipe we’ve found. Thank you so much for all of your amazing recipes

    • Natalie September 4, 2020 @ 8:20 am Reply

      I too have so much basil in my garden Eileen. It’s a fantastic way to use my basil.

  11. JenS July 16, 2020 @ 5:26 pm Reply

    So quick and easy! Very good pesto recipe. I roasted the pine nut on the stovetop in a frying pan. This will be my new go to pesto recipe

    • Natalie July 16, 2020 @ 9:05 pm Reply

      So glad you liked it JenS!

  12. Shanon June 8, 2020 @ 10:13 am Reply

    I made this recipe using spinach instead basil, but otherwise I followed it to the T. AND OMG it was AMAZING. Will definitely be making again!!

    • Natalie June 10, 2020 @ 1:18 pm Reply

      I am so happy you liked my pesto Shanon! I love that you made it with spinach instead of basil. That sounds delicious! I am so glad you will be makingit again.

  13. Megan June 6, 2020 @ 5:43 pm Reply

    So yummy! I couldn’t find pine nuts so I made this with roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds. Still so tasty. I’ll have to do a taste test as Right now I can’t really tell the difference between this batch and one made with pine nuts. Flavor is really mild and doesn’t taste like sunflower seeds at all.

    • Natalie June 8, 2020 @ 11:58 am Reply

      I am so glad you liked my dairy free pesto Megan. I love that you were able to adapt the recipe with what you had on hand. It’s good to know the recipe worked well with sunflower seeds.

  14. Josh April 11, 2020 @ 9:44 am Reply

    There’s nothing to replace the umami left out by omitting the parmigiano.

    • Natalie April 11, 2020 @ 6:12 pm Reply

      If you find you miss the parm/cheesy flavor in the dairy free pesto you could try to add nutritional yeast Josh. It has a very cheesy taste to it. I sure hope you like it!

Easy Homemade Dairy-Free and Vegan Pesto Recipe | Tastes Lovely (2024)
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