Let’s be honest, at first, it’s kind of hard to believe that vegan pesto can actually be delicious. Part of what gives the original tasty basil sauce its flavor and consistency is the addition of Parmesan cheese (and oftentimes, traditional recipes call for heaps of it). Pesto is the perfect summer sauce since it's much lighter than a red sauce and tastes great atop cold pasta salads, too.
Whether you're dairy-free or just trying to cut down on the amount of cheese you're eating, you can still replicate the tasty sauce. And thankfully, there are quite a few easy vegan pesto recipes that retain the sauce's signature flavor with the help of a few key ingredients. Scroll down and see our top picks.
This vegan pesto recipe is whipped up with a combination of toasted pine nuts, lightly packed fresh herbs (we like basil), scallions, olive oil, and lemon juice, plus a few other spices. A good food processor is going to be your best friend for all of these recipes, so don't even try to blend them by hand. When you're finished making this sauce, pour it over thin zucchini noodles and top with some fried eggs. Dinner is served.
Easy Vegan Pesto
A five-minute vegan pesto recipe? We didn't even know there was such a thing. With just seven ingredients and one bowl, it's the easiest thing ever. It relies on the typical basil, pine nuts, and garlic, plus lemon juice for a little acidity. But the special ingredient here is nutritional yeast. We've already raved about how it imparts a cheesy flavor on anything, and it makes this vegan pesto recipe get as close to the real thing as humanly possible. PS: You can also freeze leftover pesto in ice-cube trays and pop out a few cubes when you need a dollop or two of the sauce.
Roasted Garlic Paleo Pesto
This vegan pesto recipe relies on slow-roasted cloves of garlic to make up for the lack of cheese. Once they're ready, you squeeze the bulbs into the food processor along with basil, lemon juice, and some roasted pine nuts. Add some extra-virgin olive oil and some spices, pulse the mixture, and you're good to go.
Vegan Kale Pesto
Bonus points that we found another easy five-minute recipe. This pesto mixes things up a bit, and we like that. Instead of basil, a combo of kale and parsley makes up the base. Secondly, instead of pine nuts, raw almonds are subbed in. Add some olive oil, salt, garlic, and lemon juice, put in the food processor, and you've got one tasty, quick pesto. If you're adventurous, add some seasoned almonds to kick things up a notch (or two).