Vegan pesto on pasta

Anything green vegan pesto


  • 1 really big bunch green leaves and/or herbs The classic recipe calls for basil but if it's green, give it a chance. Baby kale, spinach, stinging nettles (blanched first), fresh carrot tops (blanched), cilantro, parsley, or even sprouts! It's all good. A mix of different greens is even better.
  • 1/2 to 1 cup nuts and/or seeds The classic is pine nuts. Walnuts, almonds, cashews or even pecans work great. For a nut-free version, try hemp or pumpkin seeds! The nuts can be raw or toasted.
  • 2-6 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2-5 cloves garlic Garlic powder can also be used. Or, in the spring, you can opt for garlic scapes.
  • 2-6 Tbsp nutritional yeast For that cheesy taste. (Traditional pesto has parmesan cheese in it.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper


  • Wash the greens thoroughly. You can spin to dry but it's not a big deal if you don't, since you may need to add water to the blender anyway.
  • If using stinging nettles, carrot tops, stellaria (chickweed), thick kale leaves or another robust or bitter green, you may want to blanch the greens first. Bring a pot of water to boil, throw in the greens and let them cook for 30 seconds to a minute. Pull them out and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking action. (If you plan on eating your pesto with pasta, do not drain the water - keep it to cook your pasta so you can keep some of the nutrients from the greens!)
    Blanching stellaria
  • Add all the ingredients (except the nuts - read on) to the blender or food processor and give it a good whirl. Pour the liquid at the bottom first and top with as many greens as you can fit in your machine. You may need to use a tamper or wipe the sides with a spatula a few times in the process. I personally like to completely pulverize the greens, then add the nuts and pulse a few times to retain a bit of crunch. If you prefer the smooth consistency of a bright-green sauce, you can put all the ingredients in at the same time.
    Vegan pesto dry ingredients
  • If you haven't added the nuts already, add them now.
  • Process to the desired consistency. If things don't blend too well, add some water, a few tablespoons at a time. (If you blanched the greens in water and reserved some, use it now.)
  • Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired.
  • Keeps in the fridge for 5 days and freezes well for a few months - but you're better off eating it sooner than later for maximum nutrition.