Vegan Pesto

Vegan pesto is simple to make by substituting the Parmesan with a vegan umami alternative. My favourite is the cheesy saltiness of miso paste! Simply toss the ingredients into a food processor and pulse. Use this vegan pesto however you like!

Vegan pesto in a black bowl with a wooden spoon.

A little over 3 weeks ago I planted out my rooftop up-cycled pallet garden. I’ve been amazed to watch how quickly it has gone from a couple puny little transplants, some of which I didn’t have much hope for, to a thriving and impressive urban vegetable garden.

The tomatoes and peppers have already set fruit, and the herbs are almost to the point of being out of control. Meaning that I need more basil recipes – and fast! The most obvious is pesto.

The ingredients for pesto on the counter before being blended.

Though most pesto recipes are not vegan, nor would I consider them vegetarian as parmesan cheese is made with animal rennet, it’s fairly easy to make a good vegan pesto by simply leaving the cheese out altogether or substituting it for another umamai ingredient such as nutritional yeast or miso paste.

Some flexibility is also possible with pesto’s other simple ingredients. Pine nuts are uber-expensive, even here in Spain where pine nuts are produced and form an integral part of many traditional recipes.

Ingredients for vegan pesto in the blender with oil being drizzled in.

Therefore, walnuts can serve as an acceptable alternative, albeit lending a slightly different taste to the finished pesto. I also like to use a mix of herbs rather than straight basil, the addition of a bit of mint gives a pleasant, refreshing quality to my pesto.

Vegan pesto in a black bowl from above.

Vegan pesto in a black bowl with a wooden spoon.

Vegan Pesto

Yield: 3/4 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Miso paste gives this vegan pesto the same cheesy-ness as the original but without the cruelty!


  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts (or a combination of the two)
  • 1 packed cup of mixed herbs (I used basil, parsley, and mint)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste (adjust depending on the saltiness of your miso)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. Toast the nuts in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat until they are warmed through and lightly toasted, about 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer the nuts to a food processor and add the herbs, garlic, and miso paste. Blend until smooth and then slowly add the olive oil while blending to combine.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 188Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 160mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g

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