Vegan Basil Pesto

Freezer Friendly, Garden Recipes, Healthy Eating, Pasta, Sauces | no comments

I have mixed emotions about backyard gardening. I love the idea of it and I want so very much to have a thriving garden. By the time Summer rolls around, however, I am forced to admit every year that the garden my mind conjured up in the Spring isn’t quite as easy as I thought it would be.

Written by Allison of Some the Wiser

This year I lost four of my eight tomato plants to curly top virus. I also lost all of my winter squash and beans for reasons that remain a mystery to me. It was very disappointing to put in all that work only to lose the plants before harvest time.

The garden isn’t a complete loss though. This year, for the first time ever, I have a thriving herb garden! More Basil, Rosemary, Sage, and Mint than I can even keep up with!

I don’t think I’m going to give up on gardening, but this time of year, when I’m picking squash bugs off the zucchini plants every day and wishing I had green beans, it’s definitely bittersweet.

What keeps me trying every year, planting seedlings and weeding the garden plot every spring, are recipes like this Vegan Basil Pesto. There is nothing quite like a delicious, simple recipe made from ingredients grown in your own backyard.

Even if you don’t have a basil plant at your house, fresh basil is easy enough to find this time of year and this recipe is worth it! Pesto is so versatile and adds a bright burst of flavor to sandwiches, pastas, soups, and more.

This particular pesto recipe is so tasty you won’t even notice that it’s dairy free! Instead of cheese, this recipe substitutes Nutritional Yeast for extra flavor and creamy texture. The Nutritional Yeast also adds extra protein and vitamins making this both a delicious and healthy addition to meals and snacks.

How to Store Fresh Pesto in the Freezer

Fresh Basil Pesto can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks in an airtight container. If you have an abundance of fresh basil that you are working with, you can make big batches of pesto and freeze it for up to six months.

  • To freeze small serving sizes, spoon freshly made pesto into an ice cube tray and freeze for 12 hours. When the pesto cubes are frozen solid, pop them out of the ice cube tray and store them in a glass airtight freezer container or ziploc freezer bag.
  • To freeze large serving sizes, scoop approximately 1/3 cup pesto into the cups of a muffin tin and place in freezer for 24 hours. When the pesto cups are frozen solid, remove from muffin tin and store in a glass airtight freezer container or ziploc freezer bag.
  • Note: These storage methods work well with this Vegan Basil Pesto recipe; however, traditional pesto made with cheese changes flavor when frozen.

When it’s time to use your frozen pesto, you can thaw the cubes to spread on sandwiches or toss with pasta. You can also just throw the frozen cubes right into soups for extra flavor! 

Vegan Basil Pesto

Yield: 1 cup

Prep Time: 10m

Print Save Recipe


2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more as needed
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
salt to taste


In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients. Pulse until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides. Taste and add salt as needed. Add more olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, if necessary to achieve the desired thickness.

Adapted from Mark Bittman


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