When it comes to sauces, one of the most versatile recipes is pesto. Case in point, we swapped parmesan cheese for nooch (nutritional yeast) to make this vegan pesto. In addition to making it dairy-free, this vegan pesto spins traditional recipes with the addition of spinach.

Traditional pestos consists of six ingredients: basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, parmesan and olive oil. With the basics in mind (as seen in recipes like the one below), you can pretty much substitute whatever you have on hand. Just make sure it fits into each of the six ingredients’ main categories: fresh herbs, nuts/seeds, garlic, salt, hard cheese and oil.

Have a bunch of parsley and/or cilantro on hand instead of basil? Go for it! Don’t want to splurge on pine nuts, but have peanuts on hand? Throw it in the blender!

There are exceptions, though. You’re probably going to want to keep the garlic, salt and olive oil constant. Also, aside from hard cheeses like parmesan, romano, asiago or our vegan substitution of nooch, using a softer cheese like cheddar or mozzarella won’t be so good.

We had a big container of spinach in the fridge, which is what led us to this rendition. We also recently made a peppery vegan arugula pesto to eat with noodles.

This vegan pesto is also super versatile in the endless number of ways you can use it. With pasta is probably the most common place you’ll find pesto on a menu. This time (as seen in the photo below), we tossed it with some homemade vegan pasta and some raw, halved cherry tomatoes.

Vegan pesto is also a great on a bagel or sandwich as it is, or you can mix it into a cream cheese or mayo (vegan or not) to make a delicious spread. Instead of a tomato sauce, you could even use this vegan pesto on your next homemade pizza.

We love inspiration, so tell us in the comments: What’s your favorite pesto-centric meal?

Category

Vegan Pesto with Spinach and Thai Basil

Yields1 Serving
Prep Time5 mins

 2 handfuls of spinach (about 1 1/2 - 2 cups)
 1 handful of fresh basil leaves (about 3/4 - 1 cup)
 ½ cup sunflower seeds
 4 cloves garlic (peeled)
 1 pinch salt
 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
 zest and juice of one small lemon (or lime)
 olive oil (about 1/2 cup)

1

In a food processor or blender add all pesto ingredients and pulse until greens are almost completely broken down.

2

With the machine running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until the pesto sauce comes together.

3

That's it! Toss with your favorite pasta, mix with mayo and put on a sandwich, serve atop roasted veggies... the possibilities are endless with this sauce!

Ingredients

 2 handfuls of spinach (about 1 1/2 - 2 cups)
 1 handful of fresh basil leaves (about 3/4 - 1 cup)
 ½ cup sunflower seeds
 4 cloves garlic (peeled)
 1 pinch salt
 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
 zest and juice of one small lemon (or lime)
 olive oil (about 1/2 cup)

Directions

1

In a food processor or blender add all pesto ingredients and pulse until greens are almost completely broken down.

2

With the machine running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until the pesto sauce comes together.

3

That's it! Toss with your favorite pasta, mix with mayo and put on a sandwich, serve atop roasted veggies... the possibilities are endless with this sauce!

Vegan Pesto with Spinach and Thai Basil
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