This is my favourite recipe for homemade vegan basil pesto. Using just 5 ingredients, this pesto is so simple and flavourful you will never want to buy it from the store again!
I totally get that pesto is one of those ingredients that seem like a lot of work to make from scratch, so when cooking at home, it ends up being something that is store bought for convenience and ease. But I am here to tell you that it is so much easier to make than you think, and once you have experienced the freshness of homemade, you’ll find it very difficult to go back to the jar.
For me, making pesto became a necessity because most traditional recipes are not dairy-free. For years I struggled to find a vegan basil pesto in the supermarket so I just didn’t eat it. I let myself forget just how good pesto can be.
To make this pesto you will need a food processor. I once watched a cooking show where an Italian nonna made pesto by hand using a mortar and pestle, so technically it’s possible without, but the food processor is going to ensure this is something that is easy enough to do at home again and again.
Start by adding fresh basil leaves, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt and olive oil to your food processor and blend together. Scrape down the sides and drizzle in extra olive oil a little at a time as needed to get your desired consistency.
The lemon juice gives the pesto that extra zingy freshness, while the flavour from the walnuts are what makes this pesto better than the rest. However, you can easily substitute the walnuts for other nuts such as pine nuts or almonds for a different variation.
Homemade pesto has so many uses and can be stored in a sealed jar in the fridge for about a week. The fresh, nutty, garlicky flavour of pesto is so versatile it can be used in so many different recipes. I love having some in the fridge for when I want a quick addition of flavour to any meal.
Here are just a few serving ideas:
- On pizza! Instead of the usual tomato sauce, use pesto instead.
- Make a simple pesto pasta by tossing the pesto through your favourite cooked pasta with a little extra drizzle of olive oil and a big squeeze of lemon juice.
- Or try this super simple chicken and mushroom pesto spaghetti from The Cooks Pyjamas.
- Spread on toasted bread as a super easy appetiser.
- Serve with grilled chicken as a sauce.
- Spread on a sandwich with your favourite veggies.
- Or try this pesto grilled cheese from Chef Not Required.
- Combine with fresh cherry tomatoes and make these mini galettes from A Baking Journey.
If you do make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and rating below! And tag any of your creations on Instagram with #eightforestlane as I would love to see.
Vegan Basil Pesto
- 1 ½ cups fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup walnuts
- 2 garlic cloves
- squeeze of lemon to taste
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Place basil, walnuts, garlic, lemon and salt in a food processor with ¼ cup of the olive oil and blend until everything starts to come together. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula and continue to blend, adding in the extra tablespoon of oil slowly until the pesto reaches the desired consistency. Adjust salt and lemon juice to taste. Use as desired or store in the fridge in an airtight jar for up to a week.