Vegan Pesto Alternatives to Traditional Basil & Pine Nut Recipes

vegan pesto
Get ready for some mmm, mmm good pesto!

Out of pine nuts and basil? Worry not!

I’ve taste-tested the culinary waters of vegan pesto and found that you can make the creamy (or chunky) sauce with pretty much any nut and herb base. Don’t believe me? Try for yourself!

My herb garden has been gracing me with a number of herb alternatives. Here’s what I’ve tried so far:

  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Lemon Thyme

A pound of pine nuts will break the bank. So, for all the realists who can’t dip into bankruptcy for the traditional pine nuts, I’ve tried these nut–and seed!–alternatives with great success:

  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Sunflower seeds

No matter how nutty you get with your selection (or creative combination), the pesto taste doesn’t change much, at least not according to my taste buds. The texture might, though.

As for the herbs of choice, your pesto will get a different flare. Parsley and lemon thyme have a mildly bitter taste, so I often toss in only a few lemon thyme sprigs with some parsley and maybe a few basil leaves to set an even keel. Cilantro has an overwhelming taste, but one that I’m obsessed with. It can give your dish a bit of a Mexican twist, or a soapy flavor for those whose taste buds find cilantro abhorrent. (I pity those folks.)

As for the citrus kick I like to add to my pesto, all three of these fruits have worked for me:

  • Key lime
  • Lime
  • Lemon

You can also swap out olive oil with any of your favorite oils–including coconut oil!

Don’t forget the yeast flakes, garlic and salt and pepper!

Have you experimented with unique nut-herb combos when whipping up vegan pesto? Share your success (or failure) below!

For my original vegan pesto recipe, click here.


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