How to Make Your Own Vegan, Not Expensive Pesto

Traditionally pesto is not vegan and is made with expensive pine nuts and basil. In my kitchen I have been making vegan pesto for many years that is very tasty. When pine nuts sky rocketed in price I found economical ways to still make delicious pesto. Also, chickweed, mint and arugula make a good replacement for basil.

5 Yummy Pesto Recipes

vegan pesto

Vegan Pine Nut Pesto

This is almost traditional but without parmesan cheese. It tastes like the real thing only better to me! Toss with pasta or serve with bread or crackers for an appetizer.


1 cup olive oil
3 cups fresh basil
1  2/3 + 1/3 c for later cup pine nuts
1 – 5 cloves garlic (optional)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4  -3/4  teaspoon Himalayan salt


  1. Put the olive oil into the blender; then add basil and blend until smooth.
  2. Next, add pine nuts and garlic; blend till they are ground.
  3. Now add sea salt and nutritional yeast; blend until smooth.
  4. Pesto is best to not be completely smooth; a little texture is good.
  5. Add 1/3 cup pine nuts and mix in at the end.

Pine nuts have become very expensive, so substitute walnuts or almonds in place of the pine nuts. Instead of salt put in a 3 tsp of Braggs seasoning.


Vegan Pesto

Peppermint Pesto

Fresh Peppermint Pesto

I love this vegan peppermint pesto during the hot summer. Try it on raw zucchini pasta or even added to your cooked grains or on top of steamed vegetables.


1 cup Fresh Mint Leaves
1 cup Fresh Basil Leaves
1/2 cup Walnuts + 1/4 cup
2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan Salt
1 – 3 Garlic cloves (optional)
2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1/2 cup Virgin Olive Oil


  1. In a blender combine the lemon juice and oil, blend.
  2. Add the mint and basil leaves slowly and pulse until it just comes together.
  3. Blend in garlic and salt.
  4. Now add the walnuts while pulsing on and off.
  5. Put in a jar and mix in the rest of the walnuts.
  6. Now use in your pasta, rice or on top of steamed vegetables.

Note: you can use any type of mint that you want to. It does not have to be peppermint. I use chocolate mint that is growing in my garden.

Vegan Pesto

Vegan Zucchini Pesto

Zucchini Pesto 

This zucchini pesto is lighter than the regular pesto as it has less oil and adds a refreshing zest of zucchini to your pasta. I prefer not to use cheese, but the nutritional yeast gives it a delicious flavor.


2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup spinach or kale
2/3 + 1/3 c for later cup pine nuts
1 – 5 cloves garlic (optional)
1/4 – 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 -3/4 teaspoon Himalayan Salt
1/2 cup olive oil


  1. Put zucchini, olive oil, garlic and salt into a blender.
  2. Blend coarsely and then add pine nuts, basil and spinach.
  3. Blend until smooth. Pesto is best to not be completely smooth; a little texture is good.
  4. Now remove from blender and mix in the extra 1/3 cup pine nuts.
  5. Enjoy with pasta or use as a dip.
vegan pesto

Tasty Vegan Chickweed Pesto

Vegan Chickweed Pesto

This chickweed pesto is vegan, is easy to make and tastes great! One of the best things about it is that it is made from a weed that grows everywhere. It is a delicate green weed which is so good for pesto. Toss with pasta or serve with bread or crackers for an appetizer.

Here is the Tasty Vegan Chickweed Pesto Recipe.

Vegan Pesto

Arugula Vegan Pesto

This arugula pesto is a favorite of mine and uses walnuts instead of pine nuts which are so expensive. Usually, cheese is an ingredient when making a pesto recipe, but there is no cheese in this and it still has a cheesy flavor thanks to the Nutritional Yeast.

Arugula Vegan Pesto


2 cups arugula
2/3 cup walnuts + 1 Tbsp
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Himalayan Salt
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast


  1. Blend all the above ingredients in a blender except nutritional yeast and 1 Tbsp walnuts until smooth and creamy.
  2. Scoop into a bowl and mix in yeast and walnuts.
  3. Use as a dip or pour on top of steamed vegetables or raw zucchini noodles.

Pesto keeps very well; it is delicious for a few days (mine seems good for at least a week) and it freezes well, too.


Yummy Pesto Pasta Green Beans

Here is a delicious way to eat your pesto: Yummy Pesto Pasta Green Beans

Related at Care2



JoAnn P
JoAnn P5 days ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

Sarah A
Sarah A5 days ago

Thank you for sharing

Beth S
Barbara S5 days ago

thank you

Hui S
Hui S6 days ago

thanks for sharing! now we have 5 new ways to enjoy the basil we grow every year!

Linda Wallace
Linda Wallace6 days ago

Thank you

Clare O'Beara
Clare O6 days ago


Clare O'Beara
Clare O6 days ago

pesto tastes good

Clare O'Beara
Clare O6 days ago


Thomas M
Thomas M6 days ago


Ruth S
Ruth S7 days ago