Pesto - typically made with a cheese and pine nut base - can easily be made 100% vegan just by swapping in pistachios. Creamy, nutty, and rich tasting, this non-dairy pesto sauce will add flavor and healthy fats to your weekly meal prep. Ready in less than 10 minutes!
How to Make Vegan Pesto
This recipe supplies fifteen servings total - 1 tablespoon per serving.
To make this sauce, you'll need:
- 2/3 cup Pistachios, peeled, unsalted preferred but salted okay
- 2 oz weight basil leaves, fresh
- 5 each mint leaves
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Kosher Salt, to taste
- Large bowl
- Baking tray
- Food processor
Step One: Roasting the Pistachios
Oven roasting your own nuts is incredibly simple and adds a ton of deep flavor to the nut. It sounds gourmet, but all it really takes is popping them in the oven and making sure they don't burn.
Preheat your oven to 425°F.
Add pistachios to a baking pan (ideally lined with foil) and pop them in the oven for about 3 to 5 minutes. Then remove them from the oven and set them aside, allowing them to cool off. The goal is to get a beautiful golden brown toasting on the nuts.
You can buy pre-roasted pistachios to save a few minutes, but trust me, this step is worth it.
Step Two: Blend Your Ingredients
In a food processor combine the garlic, toasted pistachios, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Pulse the mixture, scraping sides as needed, until a paste is formed.
Tip: Save the remaining olive oil for later, as blending it too much can add a bitter flavor to the pesto.
Once a thick paste is formed (aka all your nuts are formed into natural nut butter), add the basil and mint. Pulse again to blend everything together.
Now add the lemon juice and process one last time, scraping the sides again as needed.
Adding the lemon juice after the basil is added will ensure the pesto is bright green instead of dull-brown green. Acid breaks down the chlorophyll cells of the herb and makes the color dull instead of bright. By adding the acidic component at the end, you ensure this is avoided.
Step Three: Season and Serve
Remove the basil paste from the food processor into a small mixing bowl, scraping out as much of the sauce as possible with your spatula.
Gently stir in the remaining olive oil using your spatula until the pesto is well blended and a velvety smooth texture. A separation between the oil and the paste is normal.
Season with salt to taste and dig in! Or store in an airtight container until needed.
If you buy pre roasted and salted pistachios, taste the final pesto before adding any salt.
Serve this With
Vegan pesto is the perfect pairing for any vegan recipe but also works great with Trifecta proteins if you are looking to cut dairy out of your diet. Here are some of my favorite pairings:
- Build a vegan pizza topped with pesto and veggies.
- Top off a veggie sandwich or wrap.
- Toss your protein pasta in it for a macro-balanced vegan dish!
- Add to your keto meals!
Or add this sauce to your weekly meal prep to add a serving of healthy fats and take the flavor up a notch!