Vegan Basil Cashew Pesto

Vegan Basil Cashew Pesto

    Try this super easy vegan basil cashew pesto recipe that only requires 10 minutes of your time. This is a great recipe for anyone who loves aromatic pesto with pasta, salad or slice of bread.

    What makes my vegan pesto recipe so great is that it’s:

    • super easy to make,
    • perfect for batch cooking,
    • so handy for quick meals.



    The Ingredients in My Vegan Basil Cashew Pesto

    What makes my dairy-free pesto recipe unique is that besides being vegan it’s totally oil-free. Conventional vegan pesto recipes use tons of extra virgin olive oil. In fact, they’d ask you to add more olive oil at the end of the recipe  But not me!

    Cashew nuts contain enough fats to give this pesto its heartiness and creaminess. Even without any added oils, 66% of calories of my basil pesto come from fat! Furthermore, I don’t see any point in using oil as thinner – water and lemon juice do the job wonderfully!

    Usually Parmesan cheese is added to conventional pesto recipes or store bought pesto. Now, in a vegan recipe the cheesy flavour is achieved by adding nutritional yeast as well as cashews. In fact, vegan Parmesan is so often made combining those two ingredients with some salt.

    Vegan basil

    The Powers of Basil Plants

    Basil, also known as Saint Joseph’s Wort, is an herb belonging to the mint family. Basil’s benefits include:

    • anti-inflammatory,
    • antibacterial,
    • may contain compounds that fight the effects of ageing,
    • cancer fighting,
    • reducing effects of oxidative stress.

    When you cook with fresh basil, make sure to stir it in at the end of cooking as heat removes the flavour and if cooked for too long can result in bitterness.

    Different Types of Basil

    As mentioned above, sweet basil has a strong clove scent. That’s due to its high concentration of the chemical agent eugenol.

    Alternatively, lime and lemon basil have a strong citrus scent because of their high concentration of limonene. Lemon basil is great for grilled veggies, desserts and teas. Lime and lemon basil together make an excellent pair when cooking sauces, desserts and teas.

    Genovese basil is the classic Italian basil with extra large dark green leaves. It has a stronger and more aromatic flavour compared to sweet basil.

    Thai sweet basil has smaller dark pointed leaves and has a spicy liqorice flavour. It’s great in Asian dishes. Thai basil also keeps its flavour at higher cooking temperatures.

    Purple basil has a stronger clove taste and is not as sweet as other basil varieties.

    Lettuce basil has large wrinkly floppy leaves. It’s a great addition to your salads and fresh dishes with its mild flavour.

    basil vegan oil free

    My basil cashew pesto is:

    • Gluten-free
    • Dairy-free
    • Grain-free (for grain-free pasta dish use a pasta made of legumes, i.e. lentil, chickpea, bean or pea pasta)
    • Plant-based
    • Oil-Free
    • Soy-free
    • Peanut-free

    Finally, let me know which are your favourite pesto recipes! Also, which other homemade pesto recipes would you like me to create? Simply comment below! Also, please tag me in social media when you share your creations!


    Vegan Basil Cashew Pesto

    Vegan Basil Cashew Pesto

    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Total Time: 30 minutes

    Super easy vegan basil cashew pesto recipe that only requires 10 minutes
    of your time. This is a great recipe for anyone who loves aromatic
    pesto with pasta, salad or slice of bread.


    • 1 cup (135g, 4.8oz) raw cashews, soak
    • 3 tbsps. lemon juice
    • 3 cups (750ml) loosely packed fresh basil (30g, 1.06oz)
    • 175g (6.2oz) filtered water
    • 2 tbsps. nutritional yeast


    Start by soaking cashews for 2 hours. Discard the soaking water and
    rinse. For quick soaking, pour hot water over cashews and let soak for
    15 minutes. The soaked cashews will weigh about 160g (5.6oz).

    Next, add 3 cups of loosely packed fresh basil leaves into a beaker
    or blender. Pour in also soaked cashews, lemon juice, water and
    nutritional yeast. Blend or process the mixture with immersion blender
    until you’ve got smooth consistency.

    For pesto pasta salad, boil preferred
    pasta according to instructions on the package. Then drain and rinse
    with cold water. Next, pour the cooked pasta back into pot and mix in
    the basil pesto. Add also some arugula, chickpeas and cherry tomatoes or
    sun dried tomatoes. Sprinkle on some extra nutritional yeast for cheesy
    flavour and enjoy

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 5 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 15 Total Fat 0g Saturated Fat 0g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 0g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 8mg Carbohydrates 2g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 1g Sugar 0g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 2g

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