vegan basil
all, Gluten Free, Keto

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

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 15Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 8mgCarbohydrates 2gFiber 1gSugar 0gProtein 2g

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