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Pesto is an amazing sauce with a fresh, herbal, nutty, garlicky flavor. Here is a vegan recipe that is cheesy and flavorful but totally dairy-free. 

Amazing Vegan PestoI wait all year to make this sauce.  I consider it one of my favorite summer sauces.  The greatest thing about this sauce is it’s compatible with so many things.  Like traditional pesto it’s wonderful on gluten free pasta (Andean Dream my favorite brand) or spiralized zucchini.

It is also good for dipping vegetables, chips or flax crackers and as a sandwich spread.  I use it as a sauce for salmon or chicken.   When I make this sauce I love it so much I lick out every last drop from the food processor.

This Vegan Pesto is loaded with basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts and a special ingredient called nutritional yeast, instead of the usual parmesan cheese.  Nutritional yeast has a rich salty flavor and a taste similar to sharp cheese.  It makes the perfect “cheesy substitute”.  The taste is so good you won’t miss the cheese.  I like it even better this way.

I love nutritional yeast‘s umami flavor and because it is a nutritional powerhouse I consider it a “superfood”.  It contains a full spectrum of B vitamins that provide us with energy and help maintain proper brain function.  Since our B’s get depleted when we’re under stress we need to replenish them.  Nutritional yeast has chromium, good for weight loss and sixteen different amino acids, good for muscle building.

This yummy sauce is easy to make since it only has a few ingredients.  It is one of those sauces that falls into the category of something you make a lot.   If you have been following me for awhile you have probably heard me say “make a recipe you like 3 times” to learn it.   It comes out better every time you make it and soon you won’t even need to look at the recipe.

Vegan Pesto Nutritional Yeast

I grow basil on my porch all summer, planting it every 2 weeks to have a steady crop.  I love picking a few leaves each day to serve with the succulent summer tomatoes from my garden.  Once the plants get big it’s time to make pesto.


You don’t have to grow your own basil to make this amazing sauce.  I can’t tell you have many times I have made it with store bought basil.  Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Amazing Vegan Pesto

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If you like this recipe you may also enjoy these delicious summer sauces.

Easy Grilled Fresh Tomato Sauce

Chimichurri Sauce

5 Minute Avocado Herb Sauce 

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Amazing Vegan Pesto

Amazing Vegan Pesto

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  • Author: Ingrid DeHart
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x


This pesto is dairy free and so good. Nutritional yeast adds the cheesy flavor and lots of B vitamins.


  • 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (to taste)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon Celtic Sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 13 Tablespoons water (as needed to make a thick pourable sauce)


  1. Place the basil, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor fitted with the S blade.
  2. Pulse to combine, until the mixture is coarsely ground.
  3. Turn the motor on and pour the olive oil in a thin stream.
  4. Add the sea salt, pepper, lemon, and nutritional yeast. Pulse a few more times to combine.
  5. Add add 1 Tablespoon water at a time until the desired consistency is reached – a thick but pourable sauce.
  6. Store in the refrigerator in a glass jar. It will keep about 5 days.
  7. Perfect topping fish or chicken. I love it on salmon. Mix it into zucchini or carrot noodles (see photo) for a beautiful, delicious “pasta” dish.
  8. Store leftovers in ice cube molds, freeze, for 1 month or more. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag, then you can thaw only as much as you need later.


You can make this vegan pesto with walnuts instead of pine nuts if you prefer. It isn’t as creamy but still delicious.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Sauce
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Paleo, Mediterranean


Please leave a comment below to let me know how you use this Amazing Vegan Pesto.

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