June 26, 2014

Cashew Basil Pesto

Summer is here and the basil is flowing - a perfect time for fresh pesto! I've been tinkering around with vegan pesto recipes and am really happy with how this one turned out. It's a little thicker, creamier, and less oily (with a no-oil option as well!) So far, my husband and I have been enjoying it on pizza and veggie wraps this summer. I opted for cashews as the base since I'm still totally smitten with the power of raw cashews, but you could certainly use the more traditional pine nuts or walnuts instead. I LOVE the versatility of pesto: spread it on pizza, pasta, sandwiches, veggies, etc. It always gives such a huge, fresh burst of flavor. Enjoy!

Vegan, gluten-free

3/4 cup raw cashews
1 cup fresh basil (or more to taste)
1-2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup olive oil (or use all vegetable broth for oil free)

Soak the cashews 4 hours or overnight, then rinse and drain.
Add all ingredients to a food processor or high speed blender, and blend until desired consistency.
Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Add more lemon juice, broth, or olive oil if you'd like a thinner consistency.
Keeps about 3 days covered in the refrigerator.

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Try a panini with your fresh pesto! ;)

Come join me on Instagram and share your creations! I love to see what you guys are cooking up! :)


  1. I just got a food processor and I have been looking for pesto recipes. Mmm!

  2. I've never thought of adding lemon to pesto. Stupid me! It's a brilliant idea and sounds delicious! Pinning it now :D

    1. Hey Vanessa! Thanks - it adds such a nice, fresh burst of flavor :) And thanks for the pin!

  3. Do you have to have the yeast?

    1. Hi! Good question! I use nutritional yeast to replace parmesan that's used in traditional pesto. You might be able to do without it, but it does add a great "cheesy" flavor! You could always replace it with parmesan or other hard cheese if you'd like!

  4. I have made this once a week all summer. Just love it. We make a quesadilla with sautéed mushrooms, Daiya mozzarella and another ingredient (like tomatoes) and then top it with the pesto and more nutritional yeast. Note: I wish your recipes loaded more easily into the Paprika app.

    1. Wonderful, so fun to hear you've been enjoying it this summer! Your mushroom-cheese-pesto quesadillas sound AMAZING!! That's right up my alley :) (PS - I've never heard of the Paprika app, will have to check it out!)

    2. Update: We have switched to Miyoko's mozzarella for the quesadillas. We like it a lot better.

    3. I HAVE to try Miyoko's!! I've heard amazing things about it! Thanks for the update, have a great weekend! :)