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Vegan Pesto

Pesto, is a creamy basil, pine nut, and garlic based sauce that elevates any dish. This healthified version omits dairy and replaces it with cashews, making for a delectable vegan pesto recipe. Making your own pesto is fast, easy, and better than store-bought, which typically contains preservatives, highly pasteurized dairy products, and too much salt. While usually made with pine nuts, this recipe calls for cashews, since they are extremely creamy, and significantly less expensive than pine nuts. All you need is a Nutribullet or food processor and a few minutes of time! Vegan Pesto

Vegan Basil Pesto

Recipe Author:Maria Marlowe Prep Time: 7 min/ / Total Time: 7 min Ingredients
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil
  • 1 cup cashews (soaked overnight, or at least 4 hours, and drained)*
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (or more, depending on the consistency you want)
  • Put garlic in a food processor and pulse until chopped.
  • Next add basil, and pulse again until it is broken down into small pieces.
  • Add cashews and salt, and process on low (1-2 if using a high speed blender) so that the cashews are broken into tiny pieces, but still maintain a little texture. If using cashews that haven't been soaked, you may want to process on a higher level to get a creamier consistency.
  • Finally, with the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until completely combined.
  • Spoon into an airtight container.
    • Can be used on pasta, as a dip, or in salad.
Notes *Soaking cashews bring out the creamiest of textures. Simply put them in a bowl, cover with water, place a cover on the bowl, and let sit on the counter overnight or for at least 4 hours. (If you let them sit longer than overnight, refrigerate). When ready to use, simply drain. If you forget to soak them, you can still make the pesto, but note that it will have a different texture, and won't be as creamy. For a printable recipe card, see the original recipe, here.
Author: Maria Marlowe is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who helps people lose weight or clear up their acne by switching to a real food diet. She posts healthy recipes and meal plans at She has been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, NBC, Well + Good, and more.
Follow Maria for more healthy recipes on Instagram @MariaMarlowe and Facebook.