Vegan Basil Pesto

September 22, 2009

This vegan basil pesto is a staple in our house.

Before I became vegan and discovered I had an intolerance to dairy, I clung to the firm belief that the key ingredient in a really great pesto was an awesome aged parmesan. I’ve since discovered that you can create pesto perfection without getting cheesy.

The secret is a mixture of fresh lemon juice and sweet white miso paste. If you’re avoiding soy, chickpea miso works great, too. If you’re on a paleo diet or avoiding legumes and soy for other reasons, this pesto tastes fantastic without the addition of miso. Add more lemon juice and a pinch of lemon zest to get a sharp tangy flavor. But, the addition of the miso really does replicate the taste of aged parmesan.

I’ve served this to many unsuspecting dairy devotees and they didn’t know the difference.


This is the BEST VEGAN PESTO. A lot of commercial pestos contain cheese. This pesto recipe tastes like it contains aged parmesan but is dairy-free. If you're avoiding soy, use chickpea miso. It is amazing! GET THE FULL PRINTED RECIPE:

Posted by The Blendaholic on Wednesday, September 26, 2018
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Vegan Basil Pesto

This vegan dairy free basil pesto tastes like it has aged parmesan in it! You’ll never miss the cheese.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 1/2 cups
Author Tess Masters


  • 1/3  cup (80ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups (75g) firmly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup (70g) raw or toasted pine nuts  (or blanched slivered almonds)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic (2 cloves) 
  • 1 teaspoon sweet white miso paste  (or yellow or chickpea miso)
  • 1/4  teaspoon  Celtic sea salt, plus more to taste


  1. Throw everything into a food processor fitted with the s blade, and pulse until rustically combined. Tweak salt to taste. 
  2. Transfer to a sealed container. The pesto will keep in the fridge for about 5 days. 

Recipe Notes

Photo by Trent Lanz and styling by Alicia Buszczak