Vegan Pesto

Posted by

I made this pesto right after working with the kids at a community garden in Durham. They gave me a bushel of basil. What do you do with a bushel of basil? You make pesto! To compensate for the cheese, I used a combination of raw cashews and nutritional yeast. Cashews are super creamy and when used in combination with a bit of the nutritional yeast makes for a rich and super yummy pesto.

Vegan Pesto

1/4 cup roughly chopped raw walnuts
1/4 cup roughly chopped raw cashews
2.5 cups fresh basil (packed)
2 raw garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 -3/4 cups of olive oil
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
salt to taste
black pepper to taste

* pre-heat medium frying pan to medium low for 2 minutes

* chop nuts

* toast nuts in dry frying pan for five minutes

* add basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and nuts to blender or food processor

*start blending while adding olive oil in a steady stream (Note: you’ll have to stop periodically to stir if you’re using a blender)

*add nutritional yeast, add salt to taste

–In addition to enjoying the pesto with pasta or on a pizza, you can trying putting it on a sandwich. Right after I prepared the pesto, I made a pesto veggie chicken sandwich. I spread the pesto on each side of Kaiser roll, grilled the veggie chicken pattie and topped it with veggie cheese and lettuce. 

Written by

Tiffany M. Griffin is the woman behind Como Water, Washington DC’s premiere veg-centric cuisine consulting company. Through cooking classes, demonstrations, catering, and consultations, Como Water gives people the opportunity to learn how to prepare veg-centric cuisine that boasts maximum flavor, with minimal effort. Tiffany is quickly becoming a go-to expert on the future of veg-centric cuisine, and is a regular contributor to Como Water, the blog, as well as to vegetarian and vegan sites across the Internet. For over a decade, this self-taught, entrepreneurial expert has developed a set of tried and true techniques for making simple, delicious, and sometimes decadent veg-centric dishes. Featured on the Steve Harvey Show and other leading media outlets, Tiffany was born and raised in Springfield, MA. She then earned Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Communications from Boston College and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Washington DC, where she has worked in the US Senate and at a federal agency on issues around health, food, nutrition, and international food aid/development, and of course, as the owner of Como Water. Tiffany gets culinary inspiration from the food she grew up eating, and from her travels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge on veg-centric cuisine with others and to help others live by her mantra—love life, live long, and eat veg-centric cuisine!


  1. This is a great recipe – I can't have dairy, so I make vegan pestos too! I'm bookmarking this recipe 🙂 My favourite pesto has red capsicum, sun-dried tomatoes, cashews, garlic, olive oil, and a dash of white wine vinegar – sometimes I add fresh basil too – so yummy!!

  2. Hi Jo! We're glad you like the recipe! Nutritional yeast rocks the house! 😀 Your recipe sounds absolutely delicious, I will have to try it! I heart cashews!