This delicious vegan spinach pesto is perfect as a spread for sandwiches and wraps, over pasta and pizza, mixed with roasted veggies or as a dip for raw veggies or crackers.

Jar of vegan spinach pesto with a spoon in it.

Vegan Pesto Ingredients

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 most store-bought pestos. The rest of ingredients you’ll find in traditional pesto are already vegan:

  1. Basil. You’ll need about 1 cup of fresh basil for this recipe.
  2. Pine nuts. This recipes uses almonds as an alternative to pine nuts but pine nuts work too! I’ve listed some alternative nut options below.
  3. Extra virgin olive oil. I used half olive oil and half water in this recipe to reduce the fat content by half.
  4. Garlic. The more garlic, the better!

This recipe also calls for spinach and salt.

Nut Alternatives

I’ve made this recipe with hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts and they all work well. You can also use cashews. For nut-free pesto, you can use sunflower seeds. I’ve also got a hemp seed pesto if you’re looking for nut-free option.

Jar of vegan spinach pesto with a spoon in it.

How to Make this Pesto

To make this pesto, all you need to do is blend everything up.

Add the almonds first, give them a quick pulse to break most of them down, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until combined but still a bit chunky. You want to leave it with some texture don’t over blend. You may need to stop a few times to scrape down the sides.

I prefer to make this in a food processor but I made this particular batch in my Vitamix. Both work but the food processor is easier to work with in this case.

Raw almonds in a blender container.
Add the nuts to a blender or food processor.
Blended almonds in a Vitamix container.
Process until mostly broken down.
Basil, spinach and garlic in a Vitamix container.
Add the rest of the ingredients and blend to combine.
Jar of vegan spinach pesto with a spoon in it.

Vegan Spinach Pesto Recipe

This delicious sauce is amazing served over zucchini noodles, pasta, spaghetti squash, roasted veggies, baked sweet potato, soups, baked potato, avocado toast, pizza, tofu scramble, in wraps and sandwiches or as a dip for raw veggies. It takes just minutes to make and is full of flavour and nutrition.

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:

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Jar of vegan spinach pesto with a spoon in it.

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.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus 12 tbsp more, if needed)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh basil (30 g)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach (60 g)
  • 1/2 cup of almonds (85 g)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled (13 g)
  • 1/21 tsp sea salt, to taste
  • 12 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  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