Vegan Pesto

This vegan pesto recipe made with cashews is so easy to make! You just need 5 ingredients to prepare this heathier, budget friendly option!

Vegan Pesto

Pesto usually involves nuts, cheese, garlic, fresh basil and olive oil. This is my favorite vegan version of pesto, which still has plenty of garlic and fresh basil flavor, but is made without any cheese or olive oil! The cashews provide a buttery, cheesy taste and are a lot cheaper than pine nuts, which are often called for in pesto. 

Try it with any kind of pasta you like for a super quick and fancy meal, or use it on pizza, sandwiches, wraps, as a dip or salad dressing. The possibilities are endless, and you will love this go-to recipe for sure!

Vegan Pesto Recipe

It really couldn’t be easier! Add all the ingredients plus 1/4 cup water to a food processor. Process until smooth and creamy, adding more water as desired.


  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 cups fresh basil, loosely packed
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup water


Add the cashews, garlic, basil, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt and 1/4 cup water in a food processor. Process everything until it gets smooth, adding more water if needed for a thinner consistency.

You can store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Pesto also freezes well for up to 6 months. You can also freeze it in an ice cube tray, then pop the cubes out and stick them in a ziplock freezer bag or container if you prefer!

Can you make pesto nut free?

If you have an allergy to cashews, you can use raw slivered almonds or pine nuts in place of the cashews. If you can’t have any of those, you can use pepitas or sunflower seeds. But the recipe does taste best with cashews, as they give it a buttery, cheesy flavor.