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Dairy-Free Basil Pesto in a Bowl
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5 from 4 votes

Dairy-Free Basil Pesto

This easy dairy-free basil pesto uses nuts (like cashews, walnuts, or pine nuts), olive oil and garlic, and is the perfect way to use and preserve fresh basil from your garden. Freeze the pesto for later!
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 10
Calories: 90kcal


  • 2 cloves garlic Use more if desired
  • cup nuts (pine nuts, cashews, or walnuts)
  • 2 cups basil, removed from stems, tightly packed
  • cup olive oil, plus more if freezing pesto
  • 2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice, optional (to preserve color) or rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, optional Use more if desired


  • Add the garlic and nuts to a food processor basin, and chop until finely blended.
    Chop Nuts + Garlic
  • Add basil to the food processor. Close the processor lid, and begin drizzling the oil into the food processor while chopping. Continue adding the oil until the basil is finely chopped and all ingredients are incorporated into the oil. (You may have leftover oil.)
    Tip: If your food processor doesn't have an opening in the lid, you can also add the oil in ¼ cup increments, and chop until incorporated.
    If using, add the lemon juice and/or nutritional yeast, and chop again.
    Blend with Olive Oil Until Smooth
  • Fridge storage:
    Transfer to a glass jar and use pesto within 4-5 days.
    Freezer storage:
    Scoop pesto into a silicone mold (such as a silicone ice cube tray). Cover pesto with a thin layer of additional oil, and freeze until hardened. Transfer pesto to a freezer bag, and use within 6 months.
    Scoop Into Silicone Molds + Top with Oil


Yield: About 5oz pesto.  Nutrition information assumes 1 tablespoon serving size, and does not include nutritional yeast.
  • My pesto is brown.  If your pesto immediately turns brown after blending, your food processor might have a dull blade, which can cause the basil to bruise.  (I speak from experience.)
  • My pesto is too garlicky.  As written, this recipe should be mildly garlicky, but if your cloves are extra-large, the garlic could be more pungent.  Let the pesto sit for a day (in the fridge), and see if the flavors mellow.  If not, use the pesto to season garlic bread.


Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 43mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 253IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg