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Dairy Free Pesto is easy to make and so delicious. Rather than adding parmesan, we toast the cashews (cheaper than pine nuts!) which gives the pesto the best flavor. This is our go-to Whole30 and vegan pesto recipe.
This is the dairy-free pesto recipe that you'll often find in our fridge. While my family does love cheese, we don't eat a lot of it around here. With this vegan and Whole30 pesto recipe, I swear that you won't miss the cheese.
Why we love this dairy free pesto
- TOASTED cashews. The toasted part is what is important, hence the yelling. It adds a depth of flavor that is missing in most dairy-free pesto recipes. Toasted pine nuts are great too, but I can rarely bring myself to splurge on them. Cashews mimic them well.
- NO nutritional yeast. Don't get me wrong, I do like nutritional yeast. But not in pesto. I find that it gives the pesto a weird ‘fake' flavor and doesn't at all taste like the parmesan cheese it's trying to imitate.
- It's crazy easy to make. Pull out your food processor and gather the ingredients and it will be 99% made.
- In the unlikely event that you have leftovers, it keeps well for most of the week. Serve it with eggs for breakfast, in a sandwich for lunch, or with pasta, salmon, or chicken for dinner.
How to make this dairy-free pesto recipe
The easiest way to make this pesto recipe is in a food processor or blender. If you don't have access to either, you can use a large cutting board and chop everything by hand. Start with the dry ingredients then slowly add the oil and lemon juice as you continue chopping. This does take a bit of time, but if you have the patience, it can make a really nice pesto.
- Put the ingredients into your blender.
- Now turn it on.
That's it! Making homemade pesto is almost as easy as opening a jar of store-bought pesto. But it is SO MUCH better!
What to serve with pesto
We all know that pesto and pasta are great partners, but it is so much more versatile than that.
- Spooned on fried eggs or whisked into scrambled eggs.
- Spread on toast or in a sandwich.
- Tossed with roasted veggies.
- Mixed into rice.
- On top of potatoes, chicken, baked tofu, salmon, you name it.
- Whisked into some mayonnaise or yogurt for a creamy dip.
How long does dairy-free pesto last?
Pesto will last 4-5 days in a covered container in your fridge.
Can you freeze pesto?
Yes, you can freeze pesto. If you have a major basil harvest one year or you've made more than you can eat, you can put the rest in the freezer. But I would only suggest freezing pesto in a pinch. While frozen pesto works well in cooked pesto recipes, you don't want it to be the star of the show as the quality won't be as good as when it is fresh.
Making pesto mac and cheese, pesto casserole, or pesto stuffed chicken are all great recipes to use frozen pesto.
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Recipes using pesto
- Pesto Stuffed Roast Tomatoes
- Pesto Popcorn
- Pesto Hummus with Homemade Pita Chips
- Best Kale Minestrone Soup with Pesto
- Roasted Italian Cauliflower
- 1 ½ cups basil (packed)
- ⅓ cup cashews (toasted (see notes))
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt (see notes)
- Place all the ingredients into your food processor and blend on low until it's a chunky texture. For a creamier pesto, blend on high speed.1 ½ cups basil, ⅓ cup cashews, ⅓ cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 clove garlic, ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Store in your fridge for up to 5 days
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.