Why you’ll love this dairy free pesto
- I’ve been making a version of this pesto for years, and it’s so simple. It’s an adapted version of classic Genovese pesto.
- You can make it in less than 15 minutes, which is about the same time you need to boil pasta, making it a perfect quick dinner.
- It’s a great way to use fresh basil, especially if you have a lot from gardening. In late summer, I like to make a big batch and freeze it for later in the year.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it
**This post contains affiliate links. I may earn commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. I will never recommend a product I don’t use or trust.**
Ingredients & substitutions
- Basil leaves – Fresh basil leaves are a must for this recipe. Toss them in a quick ice bath for extra bright green sauce. (Make sure you let the leaves dry if you do)
- Pine nuts – These little tree nuts have a subtle, sweet flavor that gives pesto it’s unique flavor profile, but if you can’t find them, cashews or almonds would work really well. Try to use peeled or blanched almonds to prevent bitterness.
- Olive oil – Normally we keep extra virgin olive oil on hand, so that’s what we use, but you can also use a lighter olive oil, it should still have a good amount of flavor.
- Nutritional yeast – This is a common dairy free ingredient and can usually be found in the organic section at your grocery store.
- Lemon juice – I like to add lemon in addition to the nutritional yeast to give the sauce a little pop of flavor and give it more of a “cheesy” taste.
How to make this dairy free pesto
Prep your ingredients. Trim any large stems from your basil and peel your garlic (no need to mince it). Wash and dry basil leaves if needed.
Blend your pesto. Combine all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, or blender. Pulse until the basil and nuts have been finely chopped.
Scrape the sides with a spatula once or twice to make sure there are no big pieces remaining. Blend until the sauce is almost smooth.
Adjust your seasonings with salt & pepper to taste. You can also add extra olive oil to thin the pesto sauce if you need to, or if you prefer your pesto to be a bit thinner.
Everything you need to know about dairy free pesto sauce
Almost every brand of store bought pesto has dairy. Since it’s not that hard to make on your own, you can easily make a dairy free version at home if you follow this recipe. Besides making it dairy free, this recipe has even better flavor than store bought thanks to the fresh basil and garlic.
If your pesto is bitter, it might be your olive oil. We recommend tasting your olive oil before using it to detect any bitterness.
You’ll also want to use good quality oil and add it to the food processor last (the less it blends the better). So don’t over process. Pesto is meant to be like a coarse paste rather than a smooth sauce.
More dairy free sauce recipes you will love
More pesto recipes you should try
- Pesto pasta salad recipe
- Cilantro peanut pesto pasta
- Walnut crusted salmon
- Sun dried tomato pesto sauce
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts (or almonds)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- Combine the ingredients (except olive oil) in the bowl of a food processor.
- Process until the leaves start to break down and then drizzle the olive oil into the bowl slowly until incorporated.
- Category: Condiments
- Method: Blending
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegan
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 171
- Sugar: 0.1 g
- Sodium: 152.4 mg
- Fat: 18.4 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 2.2 g
- Fiber: 1.1 g
- Protein: 1.5 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: dairy free pesto, vegan pesto, pesto without cheese, dairy free pesto recipes, dairy-free pesto, dairy free pesto recipe, pesto recipe dairy free, no cheese pesto, vegan pesto recipe, vegan basil pesto, vegan pesto sauce
Published: March 27, 2023. Updated: April 4, 2023.
This post contains affiliate links. I may earn commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. I will never recommend a product I don’t use or trust.