Dairy Free Pesto Recipe


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This simple yet flavorful dairy free pesto uses just 5 ingredients and only takes 5 minutes. Try this easy homemade vegan pesto recipe, you’re going to love it!

Dairy Free Pesto

I’m kind of on a pesto craze right now and that can get a little pricey! Plus, sometimes store bought pesto just doesn’t cut it.

It was hard to find one that didn’t cost a fortune and had simple ingredients. Not wanting to give up, I decided to create it from scratch.

There’s nothing quite like the flavor of fresh basil in homemade pesto. This recipe is packed with so much flavor, you won’t believe it’s vegan!

Is Pesto Vegan?

Most recipes rely heavily on parmesan cheese as it adds a salty and creamy flavor. Without using cheese we focus more on the pine nuts, garlic, and a touch of salt to get a nice depth of flavor.

How To Make Vegan Pesto

All you have to do is omit the parmesan cheese! Pesto is naturally super flavorful and really doesn’t need the parmesan (in my opinion).

A Pinterest pin image with two pictures of pesto separated by title text.

How Long Does It Last?

If you place it in an airtight container it will last roughly 5 days. It can oxidize pretty quickly, so make sure its airtight!

It’s also helpful to either add a layer of oil on top, or place saran wrap directly on the top of the pesto. This creates the best airtight seal.

Can I Make It Without Pine Nuts?

Yes! You can easily swap pine nuts for equal amounts of walnuts or cashews.

A quick note on this – if you use walnuts, I’d recommend using the pesto right away. I noticed that my pesto made with walnuts browned much more quickly than my batch with pine nuts did.

Can I Make It Without Nuts?

Just add in extra olive oil. The texture will be a little runnier, but the oil can replace the creaminess of the nuts.

Could I Use Kale, Cilantro, or Arugula?

I know there are a lot of recipes for alternative pestos, but these are greens I wouldn’t recommend using.

Cilantro doesn’t have a very Italian flavor, kale is too bitter, and arugula is too spicy. If you happen to have parsley or spinach on hand that would be a perfect substitution.

How Do I Make It Oil Free?

You can substitute the oil with half an avocado and a few tablespoons of water. If you’re going to make it this way I’d recommend blending it right before serving. The blended avocado will cause the pesto to oxidize very quickly in comparison to regular pesto.

You may also be interested in checking out my oil-free vegan spinach pesto recipe.

Is It Gluten Free?

Yes, this recipe is naturally gluten free as it’s written.

Can I Freeze This?

Yes! You can freeze this pesto sauce for up to 6 months in an airtight container. I’d recommend freezing it in an ice cube tray. That way you can pull out only what you need.

A close up image of dairy free vegan pesto.

What Can I Put This On?

This vegan pesto sauce is so versatile you could put it on pretty much anything. I love using it as a spread for sandwiches or pinwheels.

 If you’re looking for more ideas, try using it on these:

It also makes a great dip for your favorite veggie platter!

Other Additions

If you’re looking to take this sauce to the next level, try adding some wild garlic, oregano, nutritional yeast, or a couple sun-dried tomatoes. 

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Yield: 6 servings

Dairy Free Pesto

Dairy free pesto in a low white bowl.

This simple yet flavorful dairy free pesto uses just 5 ingredients and only takes 5 minutes. Try this easy homemade vegan pesto recipe, you’re going to love it!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 3 cups fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 6 Tablespoons high quality olive oil
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (depending on preference)


  1. In a high speed blender or a food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pulse until the sauce is blended (but stop shy of it becoming a uniform paste).


To store, spoon the pesto into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Press the plastic wrap onto the top of the pesto to stop the pesto from browning. Store in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 171Total Fat: 18.1gCarbohydrates: 2.1gNet Carbohydrates: 1.1gFiber: 1gSugar: 0.6gProtein: 1.2g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.


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Be sure to try this easy healthy dairy free pesto with dinner tonight!

Dairy free pesto in a low white bowl.

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