This delicious vegan walnut pesto is made with basil, spinach and nutritional yeast for a classic flavour! Pesto sauce is extremely versatile and a fantastic way to spruce up meals. Using simple plant based ingredients, this pesto is easy and quick to whip together.
This recipe tastes exactly how I remember non-vegan pesto to taste; and I used to eat a lot of pesto pasta during the early years of my undergraduate degree. It’s just such a simple meal!
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Vegan Walnut Pesto
A truly classic pesto recipe would use pine nuts but I’ve decided to use walnuts instead
Pine nuts tend to be quite pricey and may be difficult to find. Walnuts, on the other hand, are a bit less expensive, commonly found and a nut I often have on hand.
Walnuts are packed with nutrition and flavour so they are a great addition to this pesto sauce, or a plant-based diet in general. We’re not missing out on anything by making this simple substitution from a classic pesto recipe.
Spinach in Vegan Basil Pesto
By using spinach in this vegan pesto, we’re bulking up the sauce while adding some tasty nutrition.
I typically use pesto as a pizza sauce, to dip calzones into, or simply on pasta. Either way, I love to load up on the pesto sauce.
To make a large amount of pesto, without spending a fortune on basil, bulking up the sauce with spinach has always been my go-to technique.
I also like rounding out the flavour of the basil with the spinach. We’re already using 2 cups of basil which provides all the herby flavour needed!
Plus, there’s no harm in adding the nutrition boost that spinach provides.
Dairy Free Pesto: Using Nutritional Yeast in Pesto
A predominant flavour of traditional pesto is Parmesan cheese. To make a vegan or plant based pesto, we need to substitute that ingredient, while still creating a flavourful sauce!
The simple solution is to use nutritional yeast to flavour the pesto. Nutritional yeast is a staple in my vegan kitchen because it is truly unique in its flavour. It brings a cheesy, nutty and somewhat salty flavour to anything including pesto!
Along with the walnuts and hemp seeds, nutritional yeast allows for the perfect vegan pesto flavour.
How to Serve Vegan Walnut Pesto
There are countless ways to serve your vegan walnut pesto. In university, I simply cooked pasta and tossed it with pesto and a drained can of chickpeas. add in some chopped fresh tomato and you have a super quick meal that’s unbelievably tasty.
I’ve also shared an elevated pesto pasta recipe, with caramelized onions, chickpeas and broccoli; if you want to take your pesto to the next level.
Some other ways to use pesto are:
I’d love to hear how you use this walnut and spinach pesto in the comments below!
Hope you enjoy this recipe and be sure to tag me @lettucevegout on social media if you make this and share it. I love to see your creations!
Classic Vegan Pesto with Walnuts and Hemp Seeds
- Food processor
- Place all ingredients, except for the olive oil, into a food processor.
- Pulse a few times to combine ingredients.
- Turn the processor on low and slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is at the desired consistency.
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This is an updated post: Original post date June 2017