If you’re looking for a creamy sauce that is vegan with no cheese, look no further than this easy Dairy-Free Pesto Recipe! Packed with the flavors of fresh basil and garlic, this sauce goes well on almost anything.

dairy free basil pesto served in a jar

Recipe Highlights

If you love the flavor of basil, then you are going to adore this Dairy-Free Pesto Sauce. While traditional pesto sauces include Parmesan cheese, this recipe is excludes any cheese or dairy.

The garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and fresh basil give more than enough flavor to this fresh pesto. I promise this vegan pesto sauce has a delicious flavor and you won’t miss the cheesy flavor at all.

In addition to being a vegan recipe, this sauce is also paleo, Whole30, and gluten-free.

Recipe Steps

pesto sauce ingredients on a cutting board

You can use a food processor or a blender to make your homemade pesto. You really just need to make sure that the ingredients get well blended into a creamy consistency.

Step One

You can find fresh basil leaves at most grocery stores, farmers’ markets, or you can grow your own basil plant!

To make this recipe, first wash your basil leaves and pat them dry. Then, roughly chop them off the stems.

collage of process shots for vegan pesto

Step Two

Next, add the olive oil and garlic to the base of your blender or food processor. Add the pine nuts, lemon juice, sea salt, and basil on top.

Step Three

Blend or process the ingredients until smooth.

pesto served in a bowl topped with pine nuts and basil leaves

How to Serve

The most common way to use pesto is tossed with cooked pasta (see my favorite gluten-free pasta brands). But, I think you can get creative for pesto uses, including:

  • On top of roasted tofu (for a vegan option)
  • On top of roasted chicken or fish (for a paleo option)
  • As a salad dressing
  • As a dip for carrots and celery sticks
  • On a gluten-free pizza or flatbread

Now that we’re almost into summer, there is just so much fresh basil available. But, if you don’t have 3 full cups worth of fresh basil, you could always make this pesto recipe with baby spinach, baby kale, or any other tender green or herb.

pesto pasta served on a white plate

Tips & Substitutions

  • Feel free to substitute any other nut or seeds for the pine nuts, including sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, or cashew nuts. These will all provide a lovely nutty flavor to your pesto.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 4 days. Or, freeze any leftover pesto in an ice cube tray for long-term storage. Then, pop out the pesto cubes and store them in a zip-top bag. The next time you need pesto, just defrost a few of your pesto cubes.

Other Dairy-Free Sauces You Might Like

If you like this vegan pesto, you might also like:

I hope you make this recipe! If you do, please leave a comment and a starred review below.

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dairy free pesto sauce in white bowl

Dairy-Free Pesto


Description

If you’re looking for a creamy sauce that is vegan with no cheese, look no further than this easy Dairy-Free Pesto Recipe! Packed with the flavors of fresh basil and garlic, this sauce goes well on almost anything.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cups loosely-packed fresh basil leaves

Instructions

  1. In the base of a blender or food processor, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic clove, pine nuts, salt, and fresh basil leaves.
  2. Process on high for 30-45 seconds or until the ingredients have blended together. The pesto should have a smooth and creamy consistency.
  3. Serve immediately, or store in a tightly-sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. You can use the pesto on cooked pasta, or on top of a pizza or flatbread. You can also thin it out a bit with olive oil and use it as a salad dressing. 
  2. Feel free to substitute any other nut or seeds for the pine nuts, including sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, or cashew nuts. These will all provide a lovely nutty flavor to your pesto.
  3. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 4 days. Or, freeze any leftover pesto in an ice cube tray for long-term storage. Then, pop out the pesto cubes and store them in a zip-top bag. The next time you need pesto, just defrost a few of your pesto cubes.
  • Category: Sauces
  • Method: Blender
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: pine nut pesto, vegan pesto sauce, pesto without cheese

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