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  • Writer's pictureIlana Hill

Vegan Walnut Basil Pesto

Helping my dad make pesto has always been a part of my life and childhood. I remember picking off the leaves of our outdoor basil plants, rinsing them off in the sink, and watching in amazement as my dad magically blended all of the ingredients together to create one of the tastiest sauces I have ever had. It's safe to say that this sauce is a favorite of mine, and I have always been partial to homemade pesto versus purchasing a pricey jar that barely contains anything.

I think the reason people opt into these purchases is because of the ease of not having to make their own and the fact that, for good, quality ingredients, basil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese can really be expensive.

I would safely like to debunk the theory that making your own sauce is a laborious task. Because it does not require any actual cooking, making pesto usually takes around five minutes!

Additionally, the best thing about pesto is that you can substitute ingredients so that you don't have to pay that cumbersome price. Pesto can be made out of all different kinds of greens and nuts, and you don't even need cheese!

I'm not actually vegan, but I did opt for making a pesto without cheese to have a more earthy and nutty flavor. I found that it actually turned out amazing without it. I also opted for walnuts because they are inexpensive compared to other nuts, and they are soft enough to be blended up. If you don't want to use nuts, you can always substitute hemp seeds, which work well too!

I also added some kale and spinach that I found in my fridge, which gave the sauce more nutrients and did not take away from the basil at all.

Vegan Walnut Basil Pesto


1 cup of basil

1 cup of kale

1 cup of spinach

1/3 cup of olive oil

1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

4 tbsps of nutritional yeast

2 cloves of garlic

Splash of lemon juice

Salt & pepper to taste


Simply blend! If using a blender instead of a food processor, I recommend making sure the walnuts are at the bottom with the olive oil while the greens are on top.

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