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Basic Vegan Pesto

  • Author: Jasmine @ Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: About 1 1/3 cups
  • Diet: Vegan


Learn how to make a basic vegan pesto with just 7 simple ingredients and about 5 minutes of your time!


  • 1.5 ounces (2 cups packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts* (see notes)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Optional: black pepper, to taste


  1. Into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S blade, add in the basil, pine nuts, garlic, nutritional yeast and lemon juice. Pulse until everything is well combined and coarsely ground, about 30 to 60 seconds.
  2. Next, process everything on high speed and begin to slowly drizzle in the olive oil until you have added the full 1/3 cup. Stop the food processor, scrape down the sides and and season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, add in more olive oil to reach 1/2 cup.


  • Feel free to tweak this recipe as you desire! You can add more or less lemon juice, nuts, etc. based on your preference!
  • Pine nuts: If you don’t want to use pine nuts, slivered almonds and sunflower seeds are great substitutions.
  • Garlic: If you don’t have or don’t want to use fresh garlic, you can use 3/8 teaspoon garlic powder instead.
  • Nutritional yeast: This is used in place of parmesan cheese. If you aren’t a fan of it, you can opt for a vegan parmesan cheese alternative instead.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: High quality olive oil is recommended as it will result in a better tasting pesto!
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Food Processor

Keywords: basil, pesto, lemon, pine nuts, lemon, sauce, dressing, easy