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Homemade Vegan Cashew Pesto

This Homemade Vegan Cashew Pesto has a delicious garlicky, cheesy and salty flavor that will pair well with many meals. Try this vegan pesto on pasta, sandwiches, eggs, and more! Plus, no one will know the cheese is missing from this recipe… unless you tell them!

homemade vegan cashew pesto in a white bowl on a wood table

Ingredients and Equipment for Homemade Vegan Cashew Pesto

The ingredients for this recipe are easy to find and may already be kept in your pantry if you make vegan recipes, especially the nutritional yeast.

  • Raw unsalted cashews- these will be soaked in hot water before blending into the sauce. Soaking the cashews makes them smoother in the sauce giving it a creamier texture. This recipe uses cashews in place of pine nuts.
  • Garlic- essential to the traditional pesto flavor.
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt
  • Olive oil- a good quality olive oil is worth using in this recipe because the flavor won’t be cooked off.
  • Nutritional yeast- this helps to give the pesto a cheesy flavor without using cheese.
  • Lemon juice

Aside from these ingredients a good blender or food processor is required for this recipe. We love our Ninja Kitchen System Blender for recipes like this one.

Ways to Use Pesto

This pesto recipe and any pesto is so versatile! Try it:

  • On pasta- after cooking pasta reserve 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water. Drain pasta and add pesto then slowly add a little bit of the reserved pasta water while stirring to help the pesto cover the pasta. Serve immediately.
  • On a sandwich- spread some pesto on the bread before making a breakfast sandwich, chicken sandwich or turkey sandwich!
  • With eggs- add some to your pan before adding eggs and then scramble or fry as normal. The pesto adds a delicious flavor to eggs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is Vegan Cashew Pesto good for?

This homemade pesto should be stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to 5 days. If it will not be used in 5 days store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost in the refrigerator when ready to use.

Is there a good way to store raw cashews?

Once raw cashews have been opened store them in the freezer. This will keep them fresh much much longer than storing them in the pantry.

Is this recipe gluten free?

Yes! It is gluten free, dairy free and vegan. It uses cashews instead of pine nuts as well for anyone who may be allergic to pine nuts.

homemade vegan cashew pesto in a white bowl

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Looking for more sauces to try? Check out our Vegan Pumpkin Cashew Alfredo Sauce and Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce.

homemade vegan cashew pesto in a white bowl on a wood table

Homemade Vegan Cashew Pesto

Yield: about 1 1/4 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This Homemade Vegan Cashew Pesto is so rich and creamy you won't even know that it's missing the cheese! Put this sauce on pasta, sandwiches, eggs and more!


  • 1/3 cup raw cashews, unsalted
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups basil, large stems removed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • juice of 1 lemon


  1. Place cashews in a heat proof bowl. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over cashews. Let soak for 15 minutes.
  2. Once cashews have soaked, drain the water and put cashews into the blender.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients: garlic, basil, salt, olive oil, nutritional yeast and lemon juice.
  4. Blend on high until smooth. Stop blender to scrape sides and blend again.
  5. Use sauce immediately or store in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to 5 days.


See post for ideas on how to use this sauce.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 209Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 430mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 5g

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