Vegan Basil Pesto Recipe

Vegan basil pesto recipe - Dr. Axe

Pesto is one of those fantastic spreads that can transform a meal from “whatever” to “wow.” Unfortunately for vegans, however, traditional pesto recipes include Parmesan or Romano cheeses, making them off-limits.

Never fear, however. My Vegan Basil Pesto, like my Cilantro Pesto, is easy to make and vegan-friendly. You’ll love this fresh take on the Italian classic.

Vegan basil pesto step 1 - Dr. Axe

Begin by tossing all your ingredients into a food processor or high-powered blender. While we have most of the usual pesto suspects, like basil leaves and pine nuts, we’ll also use some non-traditional ones.

Sun-dried tomatoes add extra flavor and creaminess to this Vegan Basil Pesto without dairy. Using spinach also adds extra benefits, like vitamins, nutrients and more of that delightful green color.

Vegan basil pesto step 2 - Dr. Axe

Add ½ cup of water to the ingredients and pulse, then puree, the pesto. You might need to add more water to reach the right consistency, a smooth paste. Add the water in small increments. You want to make sure this pesto doesn’t become watery.

Vegan basil pesto recipe - Dr. Axe

Once the pesto is at your desired consistency, you’re done! It’s amazing how much taste this Vegan Basil Pesto has — it’s better than anything you can buy in stores. The ways to use it are endless, too. Spread it on bread, mix it with pasta, use it in place of marinara sauce in pizzas, serve it as a dip: you can’t go wrong!

Total Time

5 minutes




  • 1½ cups fresh basil
  • 1½ cups spinach
  • 1½ tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • water to blend


  1. Add all ingredients except water to a food processor or high-powered blender. Starting with ½ cup water, pulse and then puree pesto, adding water as needed to make a smooth paste.
  2. Use immediately or store in a jar in the refrigerator for 2–3 days.

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