overhead photo of basil pesto with pine nuts

Basil Pesto (+vegan variation)

5/5

In this post I’ll show you how to make three variations of pesto – Traditional, My way, and a Vegan variation.

Homemade pesto tastes way better than any store bought bottle. It’s VERY easy to make, I’m talking less than 10 minutes, with only six ingredients. 

Pesto is nutty, herbal and fresh it gives any dish a burst of flavor. Spread it on a sandwich, toss into pasta, drizzle it across roasted vegetables or make a pesto pizza! 

I’m going to show you how to make pesto 3 ways.

(1) Traditional pesto 

(2) My pesto (very similar to traditional) 

(3) Vegan pesto

Excited yet? Let’s do this. 

 

 

What you’ll need: food processor or blender.

(1) Traditional pesto calls for fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil, freshly grated parmesan cheese, fresh garlic and salt.

(2) For my pesto I use fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil, freshly grated parmesan cheese, fresh garlic and salt. I like adding a small squeeze of fresh lemon juice for some citrus. I also LOVE adding baby spinach. You can’t taste the spinach at all but it gives the pesto a great texture and color (plus extra nutrients). 

(3) Vegan pesto is almost a combination of the two. It calls for fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon jucie, olive oil and salt. 

 

 

Method: applies for all three variations. 

  1. Add the basil, salt and nuts into a food processor or blender. Pulse about five times. 
  2. Now add the garlic and ether cheese or nutritional yeast. Pulse a few more times. 
  3. While the machine running, slowly steam in olive oil. Scraping down the sides of the machine if needed.
  4. Add lemon juice, if using.
  5. Taste and adjust flavor as needed. 

 

*** TIPS: If the pesto is too thick add a teaspoon of water slowly until you have your ideal consistency.

*VEGAN: Add more nutritional yeast for more cheese flavor.

*OIL: Extra-virgin olive oil is the highest quality and will taste best.

*GARLIC: Use fresh garlic! Not garlic powder, not garlic salt..use actual fresh garlic cloves. 

*CHEESE: Parmesan is salty and delicious in pesto, you can also use Pecorino Romano for a more intense cheese flavor. I highly recommend grating cheese fresh from the block, there’s a huge difference in taste compared to the store bought pre-packaged type. Buying blocks of cheese isn’t as expensive as you think, in fact it’s sometimes cheaper, and will last longer than the pre-packaged type.

*NUTS: You can also use pecans, almonds, walnuts, or pepitas in place of pine nuts.

*Toasting pine nuts in a small skillet over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes will bring our extra aromatic flavors.

 

The recipes below will makes ~ 1 cup of basil pesto.

overhead photo of basil pesto with pine nuts
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Basil Pesto (+Vegan Variation)

Nutty, fresh, creamy and herbal basil pesto plus a VEGAN variation.

Course Dips, Dressing, sauce
Cuisine Italian
Keyword basil pesto, sauce, vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 cup
Brittany Food Crush

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cups baby spinach optional, highly recommend. You won't taste it, it gives great texture, color and bonus nutrients.
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts Toast the nuts in a skillet for 3-5 min for extra flavor, let them cool completley before adding it to the food processor.
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed

VEGAN

  • 2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup baby spinach optional, highly recommend. You won't taste it, it gives great texture, color and bonus nutrients.
  • 4 Tbsp nutritonal yeast
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts Toast the nuts in a skillet for 3-5 min for extra flavor, let them cool completely before adding it to the food processor.
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. Pulse basil,salt and pine nuts in a food processor.

  2. Add the garlic and cheese.

  3. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Continue processing until the mixture is well blended but still has some texture.

  4. Add lemon juice if using, then taste, and season with salt and pepper if necessary.

  5. Enjoy by tossing in pasta, spreading on a sandwich or make a basil pesto pizza.

Allergies or Sensitivities? Don’t stress we got you.

Nut Free – Use sunflower seeds.

Dairy Free/Vegan- Swap cheese for nutritional yeast.

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