Divine is really the only way to describe this pesto. I found if hard to stop spooning it right out of the jar and into my mouth.
Made with a base of creamy cashew nuts (which are half the price of traditionally used pine nuts!), copious amounts of fresh basil, and about half the amount of oil typically used, this is a slimmed-down version of pesto. (It’s dairy-free, too!)
I figured this was the perfect recipe to welcome in the first day of spring, which is today! Of course, the fact that basil was on sale at Whole Foods didn’t hurt either. As the temperatures slowly get warmer, you are going to see more and more fresh herbs at your super market and farmers market, as many of them come into season.
Pesto can be made with other herbs like parsley or cilantro, but I prefer basil by far.
You can use this vegan pesto recipe on pasta (I love gluten-free pastas made from either brown rice or chickpea). Or, on top of gluten-free bread.
It’s super easy to make: you essentially just throw everything into a Vitamix or food processor, and voila! Ready in less than 5 minutes.
Try it out, and let me know what you think by dropping me a comment, below!
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil
- 1 cup cashews (soaked overnight, or at least 4 hours, and drained)*
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil (or more, depending on the consistency you want)
- Put garlic in Vitamix or food processor and pulse until chopped.
- Next add basil, and pulse again until it is broken down into small pieces.
- Add cashews and salt, and process on low (1-2 on a Vitamix) so that the cashews are broken into tiny pieces, but still maintain a little texture. If using cashews that haven't been soaked, you may want to process on a higher level to get a creamier consistency.
- Finally, with the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until completely combined.
- Spoon into an airtight container.
- Can be used on pasta, as a dip, or in salad.
- *Soaking cashews bring out the creamiest of textures. Simply put them in a bowl, cover with water, place a cover on the bowl, and let sit on the counter overnight or for at least 4 hours. (If you let them sit longer than overnight, refrigerate). When ready to use, simply drain.
- If you forget to soak them, you can still make the pesto, but note that it will have a much different texture, and won't be as creamy.
Vegan Cashew basil pesto
Cashew Basil Pesto
Maria Marlowe is a holistic nutrition and wellness coach who uses real food to help her clients improve their health, weight, and skin. She offers a healthy eating meal plan that teaches you how to batch cook, as well as one to clear up acne. She has ongoing group workshops both in NYC and online, and writes healthy and delicious plant-based recipes for her popular blog. She is also the author of the #1 New Release on Amazon, The Real Food Grocery Guide, the most practical guide to selecting the healthiest foods, without going broke, which has been praised by Dr. Oz and InStyle magazines. You can find her on instagram @mariamarlowe.