Vegan Cashew Basil Pesto

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Pesto is a tasty, versatile way to highlight the spring’s bounty of fresh herbs.

Now that the weather’s warming up here in Atlanta, we’re seeing the first bags of herbs from our CSA share! Since it’s just my husband and me sharing the basket, it can feel a bit overwhelming to stare a giant bag of basil in the face. Pesto to the rescue! The nifty thing about pesto is that it doesn’t have to be the pine nut, basil, and cheese combo that most folks associate with the sauce. Pesto really refers to any sauce that’s a blend of nuts and herbs, so you it’s a very versatile recipe!

Cashews are my favorite nuts to use in pesto, because they’re cheaper than pine nuts and blend up nice and creamy. Don’t have cashews? Try almonds or sunflower seeds! I’ve made some nice pesto with pumpkin seeds, too. Out of basil? Try sage, parsely or even mint! Every combination will have a bit of a different flavor, and I haven’t found a nut/seed and herb combo yet that’s failed me.

Vegan Cashew Basil Pesto

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: none
Total time: 5 minutes
Yield: 2 cups


  • 1/2 c fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 c raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast (optional)
  • to taste salt and pepper

Cooking Directions

  1. Put all of the ingredients into your blender or food processor.
  2. Blend until the sauce is nice and creamy. You can use extra olive oil and lemon juice to thin things out, if you like. Just keep blending and tasting until it’s just right!

I served this with baked pita chips for dipping, but it would also be great tossed with some cooked pasta or your favorite whole grain along with some veggies!

Have you guys made any good, vegan pestos? Walnut and sage is another favorite combination of mine…what about you?

3 thoughts on “Vegan Cashew Basil Pesto”

  1. I’ve been meaning to make a pesto pasta, but I always balk at how much expensive a pre made sauce is at the grocery stores. I didnt know it was this easy, I’ll definitely just make my own. Thanks for this!

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