Vegan Basil Pesto

September 22, 2009

Vegan Basil Pesto

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.

Other Pesto Recipes

Semi-Dried Tomato Macadamia Pesto
Avocado Pesto
Raw Broccoli Pesto
Cilantro Pesto
Raw Tomato Pesto Stacks

Let me know what you think of this vegan basil pesto in the comments!

Your feedback is important, and it helps me decide which recipes to post next for you.


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 12
Calories 94 kcal
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 (30ml) fresh lemon juice 
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) minced fresh garlic (2 cloves) 
  • 1 teaspoon sweet white miso paste  (or yellow or chickpea miso)
  • 1/4  teaspoon (1.5g) 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

Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 cups. 
Serving: 1 serving = 2 tablespoons.


Comments 11

  1. Hey Andrea, I just add in a bit of lecithin to make it a bit more creamy. But you can leave it out and it is just as good.

  2. This is the most amazing pesto! Just made it for the second time, absolutely beautiful! I much prefer using cashews to pine nuts, ive never liked the taste of pine nuts.

    1. This keeps for up to a week in a cold fridge. You can also freeze it in a seal-a-meal bag or sealed container. That is the best way to preserve it. Enjoy 🙂

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