A delicious, vegan spinach pesto is perfect as a spread for sandwiches or wraps, pasta sauce or a dip for raw veggies or crackers. All you need to make it is olive oil, basil, spinach, hazelnuts, garlic and sea salt. It can also be made with walnuts, almonds or pine nuts as an alternative to hazelnuts.

Vegan Spinach Pesto with Olive Oil, Hazelnuts and Basil

Vegan Pesto

Vegan pesto is actually very easy to make. The only thing you need to replace from traditional pesto is parmesan cheese, which you’ll find listed as an ingredient in more store-bought pestos.

The rest of the pesto ingredients are already plant-based:

This vegan spinach pesto recipe uses hazelnuts in place of pine nuts and spinach to replace some of the basil. It’s still got basil in there though because you need that amazing basil flavour for a good pesto.

Easy Vegan Spinach Pesto - Running on Real Food

Vegan Spinach Pesto with Hazelnut and Olive Oil

Easy Vegan Spinach Pesto Recipe

To make this pesto, all you need to do is blend everything up. You want to leave it with some texture so don’t over blend. I find pulsing it works best. If you don’t have the best blender or food processor, I’d recommend adding the hazelnuts first and breaking them down a bit before adding the rest of the ingredients.

How to Use this Pesto

Serve this pesto over zucchini noodles, pasta, spaghetti squash, roasted veggies, soups, baked potato, avocado toast, pizza, tofu scramble, in wraps and sandwiches or as a dip for raw veggies.

Nut Substitutions

You can use hazelnuts, pine nuts, walnuts, pecans, cashews or almonds for the nut. Even sunflower seeds would be good if you want to make it nut-free. You can try my kale walnut pesto to give another greens and nut combo a go. I’ve got a hemp seed pesto too if you’re looking for another alternative to nuts.

Oil-Free Pesto Recipes

I have two low-fat pesto recipes if you’re looking for an oil-free pesto. You can find them here:

Vegan Spinach and Hazelnut Pesto

Vegan Spinach Pesto

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Food Processor
  • Cuisine: Vegan

A delicious, vegan pesto perfect as a spread for sandwiches or wraps, pasta sauce or a dip for raw veggies or crackers.



  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus 12 tbsp more, if needed)
  • 3 ounces of fresh basil
  • 2 ounces of fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup of hazelnuts
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste


  1. Add all ingredients to blender or food proccessor, except for the extra 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. Blend on high until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides.
  3. Continue to blend and slowly pour in extra olive oil until you reach desired consistency. Add the sea salt to taste.

Keywords: healthy, vegetarian, pesto sauce, pasta, gluten-free