In Dairy Free, Dinner, Lunch, Recipes, Salads, Sides

Dairy Free Basil Pesto

Dairy Free Basil Pesto

This is a wonderful substitute for pesto lovers who are dairy free. Guaranteed to please without the cheese! Without knowing you wouldn’t even know cheese is missing in this delicious pesto!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 People


  • 50 g fresh basil leaves stalks removed (you will need to purchase approx. 100g)
  • 75 g pine nuts toasted
  • 4 tbsp marigold nutritional yeast flakes vegan Engevita (gluten free)
  • 15 tbsp olive oil use 10 tbsp. when making the pesto and 5 tbsp. at the end
  • 6 pinches Maldon sea salt


  • Toast your pine nuts in the oven for 15 minutes on 400°F, gas mark 6, 200°C (180°C fan-assisted) laid out on a baking tray in a single layer. Bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring every 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown, then immediately transfer to a plate to stop the hot tray from continuing to cook them. Alternatively place the pine nuts in a dry (don’t add oil) frying pan large enough to hold them in a single layer, and cook until fragrant and golden brown keep them moving (stir frequently or constantly) for about 3-5 minutes, when they are golden brown transfer to a plate to stop the cooking process and leave to cool. Top tip – do not take your eye off them even for 1 minute!
  • Place the basil leaves, into a food processor and blend roughly chopped. Add the toasted pine nuts and 10 tbsp. of olive oil, sea salt and the nutritional yeast flakes, blend all together, scrapping down the sides of the food processor.
  • When you’ve reached a smooth yet coarse texture, place the mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in 5 tbsp. olive oil, then place the pesto into a Kilner jar.
  • The pesto sauce will keep fresh in the refrigerator for 7-10 days, alternatively you can freeze in mini ice cubes for up to 3-6 months.
  • Enjoy!
  • [recipe-video]


LISA’S TIP – This pesto sauce is delicious served in a variety of ways, straight from the jar on a spoon! I haven’t added fresh garlic but if you wanted to take it to the next level, then add one clove of crushed garlic, and a few twists of black pepper.  It’s delicious served on top of hummus or drizzled over roasted veggies if you’re vegan, roasted cauliflower & sweet potato is my go to. And if you’re keeping it, plant based a generous drizzle of tahini topped with the pesto is a match made in heaven.
The pesto is wonderful when accompanied with meat, chicken or fish. I love to roast a whole chicken and serve in portions, hot or cold with the pesto sauce on the side.
Or nothing beats a tray of roasted chicken wings dipped into this pesto! Equally this pesto is delicious served on my gluten-free bread ‘The Little Loaf. You can also serve it with pasta or spiralised courgette pasta.
What makes this pesto so magical is the nutritional yeast flakes, it provides a wealth of vitamins, minerals and protein. It is a fantastic alternative to cheese in sauces. Nutritional yeast is a blessing for dairy-free lifestyles or vegans. It’s known for its tangy, cheesy flavour, which comes in flakes or powder form, both of which blend nicely into hot or cold foods.  I have added in more salt than I would if this pesto had parmesan, but since it doesn’t have parmesan it needs the extra saltiness.
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