This lush vegan green pesto is so easy to make. When you need some green pesto for a recipe – most people just reach for the supermarket variety. But making your own is so much more satisfying, and it’s not at all difficult. Finding some fresh basil is probably the hardest part. I’m lucky that there’s an excellent local greengrocer near me (Eades in Julian Road) that sells local unsprayed produce. Their basil is lovely and fresh, and very reasonably priced, plus it comes in recyclable brown paper bags!
Pine nuts are easily available so no problems there. My only note of caution is to avoid Chinese ones. Chinese sourced pine nuts often contain an inedible species. That’s not to say they are actually poisonous, but they contain a substance that causes a very unpleasant effect on the palate. It’s called pinenut mouth! Eat Chinese sourced pinenuts at your peril. Ones from Europe are fine however. Toasting the pine nuts gently improves the flavour of the finished green pesto so is worth the effort.
Finding a vegan parmesan would have been difficult a while ago, but now that Violife have an excellent version it’s easy. Most of the major supermarkets or wholefood stores sell it. I think most people find it indestinguisable from the dairy version. This vegan green pesto recipe is easy, but as with the salsa recipe it’s best to roughly chop the ingredients before blending. This is to avoid overlarge pieces. Also it’s a must to use the pulse blend setting, so you don’t overdo it. You’re looking for some texture to it, not just a smoth paste.
I’ve used it in a wholewheat fusilli based pasta salad with some roasted baby plum tomatoes in another recipe listed here. You could also add roasted, peppers, courgettes, or mushrooms. This goes very well with my garlic bread and super creamy hummus
- 100 g fresh basil large thick stems removed – washed and spun dry after washing.
- 45 g or 3 Tbsps. pine nuts – lightly roasted 6 minutes at 130°C
- 25 g or 5 large cloves garlic peeled and crushed.
- 30 g/2 Tbsps. lemon/lime juice
- 10 g or 3 rounded Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp smoked sea salt plus more to taste
- 35 g or 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 30 g grated vegan parmesan
- Put the pine nuts on a tray and gently roast at 130°-150°C for 5 minutes or so
- Remove the basil leaves from the main stalk and add to blender bowl
- Add in the garlic - best to crush it first - I forgot to do it!
- Add in the nutritional yeast and smoked sea salt
- Adding in the lightly toasted pine nuts
- Grate the vegan parmesan
- When all the ingredients are in the food processor, pulse process – scraping down the sides several times. Don’t overdo it though, as you still want some texture to it.
- It will keep for a around 5 days in the refrigerator – but is best used immediately.
- Makes 280g of pesto which is enough for a generous coating of 250g of dry pasta when cooked.
- If using for a pasta salad, I suggest using a box of tomatoes, 2 peppers or a box of mushrooms to go with it – all roasted or sauteed.