If you’re looking for a creamy pesto sauce that is dairy free and vegan, look no further than this easy Vegan Pesto Recipe!

vegan pesto in a white bowl with flowers

Creamy Pesto Sauce

I find that people have really strong opinions about basil pesto. They either LOVE IT (like me) or they DO NOT LIKE IT (like my husband). I find this very interesting because I am usually a pickier eater than he is. But, I simply cannot get enough of this vegan pesto. I love it so much I will eat it off a spoon. I am not kidding.


There is nothing tricky about making vegan pesto. It is simply a traditional pesto sauce without any cheese. That makes this recipe paleo too. And Whole30-compliant.

vegan pesto ingredients on a white cutting board

Recipe Steps

You can use a food processor or a blender to make your vegan pesto. If you use a blender like I did, I recommend putting the liquids like the oil and lemon juice in first, with the basil leaves on top. This will make it easier to blend.

vegan pesto process shots

How to Serve

The most common way to use pesto is tossed with cooked pasta. 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 pizza or flatbread
gluten free pasta with vegan pesto sauce

Now that we’re in the middle of 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 or any other tender green or herb.

Other Vegan Sauces

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

Here’s the printable recipe:

vegan pesto in a bowl with pine nuts

Vegan Pesto Recipe

  • Author: Carrie Forrest, MPH in Nutrition
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 minute
  • Total Time: 6 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


If you’re looking for a creamy pesto sauce that is dairy free and vegan, look no further than this easy Vegan Pesto Recipe!



  • 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


  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.


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. 

  • Category: Sauces
  • Method: Blender
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: pine nut pesto, vegan pesto sauce, dairy free pesto

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