Creamy Vegan Pesto Sauce with Pine Nuts

Light and Dairy-free

  • Dairy Free
  • Egg Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Mediterranean
  • Vegan
Creamy Vegan Pesto Sauce with Pine Nuts
  • 5
  • Serves 2
  • Easy


Creamy pesto sauce is a classic Italian staple. Used from everything from sandwich spreads to pasta sauce, it’s a great way to add a springy flavor to a dish. This vegan pesto sauce is a light and dairy-free way to bring a little zip to any dish.

A lot of jarred pesto sauces are full of empty calories and additives. Why not make your own out of fresh ingredients that you know are wholesome? My easy recipe will explain how to make pesto sauce and how you can use it in fun ways!

What is Pesto Sauce

Traditionally, classic pesto sauce is an Italian condiment made from basil, pine nuts, garlic, sea salt, lemon juice, and cheese. It’s a flavorful recipe originating in Genoa, Italy. Over the years, many variations and spins on homemade pesto have been developed.

Creamy Vegan Pesto Sauce Recipe with Pine Nuts It’s full of healthy fats, vitamins, and antioxidants

Which Nuts to Choose

Pine nuts are the original ingredient in pesto. These are the edible seeds that grow in the cones on mature pine trees. Also known as pignolias, they are harvested by hand in a long, labor-intensive process. Then they are dried to be sold in stores.

These little seeds are super healthy for you, though. They contain loads of healthy fats and iron. They are also a great source of anti-aging vitamin E for healthy skin.

But they can be expensive and tough to find. So what if you can’t find pine nuts near you?

Substitutes for Pine Nuts in Pesto Sauce

There are other options besides pine nuts for making pesto. One of my favorites is raw, unsalted cashews. When soaked overnight and blended, cashews make a great base for a pesto cream sauce.

I also love using raw almonds. You can toast them for a few minutes in a frying pan to add that rich nutty flavor.

Pecans are also a great option. Their high fat content makes them a good alternative to pine nuts to create a creamy sauce.

You can also try brazil nuts. They are super healthy and have a great crunch!

Feel free and mix it up and use any combination of these nuts until you find your favorite texture.


Why this Pesto Sauce is So Great For You!

I love that all of the ingredients play a huge part in the flavor and are super healthy. It makes this pesto sauce a great, low-carb addition to any dish.

This recipe is for pesto without cheese, so it’s cholesterol-free and perfect for vegan diets. But it still tastes great and has a wonderful texture with no cheese. The pine nuts have enough healthy fats to make it creamy while still being dairy-free.

The basil is high in vitamins K and A. It also contains magnesium for healthy mood and muscles.

Plus, there’s nothing better than a kitchen filled with the scent of fresh basil leaves.

Of course, pine nuts are a great source of fat and protein. But did you know that they are great for heart health too? They contain vitamins E and K, plus iron and manganese, all awesome for your cardiovascular health.

And garlic has a centuries-old rep for being awesome. It’s great for immune support and contains a ton of antioxidants. Plus, it can reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure.

It’s important to use high-quality olive oil. The amount of fat (19 g per once) in the pine nuts allows this recipe to call for a small portion of oil.

But if you aren’t concerned with the fat content, feel free to add two or three extra tablespoons for a richer sauce.

I love using pink sea salt for this recipe. This type of salt contains some great minerals and is good for balancing your hydration. It also has a more complex flavor than typical salt. I just grind it up before throwing it into the food processor.

Ways to Use Pesto

Pesto Sauce PastaThis creamy pesto sauce recipe is an amazing addition to your arsenal of condiments. It’s easy to whip up, and it tastes great on so many things. From pasta to sandwiches, it’s a great way to add flavor to stand-by recipes. I love it on pizza and stirred into scrambled tofu. One of my fave uses is adding a dab to roasted baby potatoes. It really is a great way to add a zing to a huge variety of dishes.

More Vegan Sauce Recipes

Vegan Ranch Dressing

Italian Keto Tomato Sauce for Pasta

Tomato Purée

How to Store Homemade Pesto

Homemade pesto is best enjoyed fresh. But if you have extra, you can store it in the fridge for up to a week in an airtight container. You can also freeze your pesto for up to twelve months.



    Adjust Servings:
    ⅓ cup Pine nuts I use raw pine nuts
    1½ cup Fresh Basil
    2 cloves Garlic
    ⅓ tsp Sea salt
    2 tbsp Lemon juice
    2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    How to make. Steps


    Prepare your ingredients

    Wash and dry basil. Peel your garlic cloves and smash them with a flat side of the knife, so they mix better. Squeeze lemon juice and remove the seeds.


    Make the Pesto

    In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients except olive oil. Pulse for about 2 minutes until everything is evenly chopped. Then, add the olive oil and blend for about 30 seconds until the sauce is smooth.

    I hope you love this pesto recipe as much as I do! Let me know what dishes you use it in and how you think it compares to traditional pesto.

    Pin It for Later!

    If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment and rate it (once you’ve tried it). I’d love to see what you come up with!

    *Calories per serving (2 tbsp)

    Nutritional information

    Total Fat


    I’m Ann and I enjoy creating plant based recipes for people who love to eat and want to feel good about it! I live in Thailand and travel around the world in search of inspiration for my recipes. All of them are healthy, simple and kids approved. Pick out a recipe and let's get cooking!

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