The Best Pesto I Have Ever Eaten!

The title of this post refers to the compliment I received from friends who are not vegan, when I served up our homemade vegan basil pesto for dinner recently. I was chuffed, and my Man of Many Talents thought it was time I shared my secret recipe. So here it is!

Vegan Basil Pesto

For 4-6 servings:

  • 3 cups/45 g fresh basil leaves (homegrown is best! πŸ˜‰ )
  • 90 g pine nuts (they are expensive, but splash out on the best quality you can find)
  • 15 g cashews
  • 4 level tbsps nutritious yeast (essential for texture and the slight ‘cheesy’ flavour)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (fresh if possible)
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes (the sort that come in a jar, marinated in oil), roughly chopped
  • 1 – 2 tbsps of the sun-dried tomato oil
  • 100 ml of mild olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients in a mixer until chunky. If the mixture is too thick you can either add a drop more oil or – if it is being eaten the same day – a splash of water to thin it slightly.

Serve over hot pasta and let all that sunshiny flavour tickle your tastebuds! Very good with a tomato salad and a cold drink. πŸ™‚

Do you love basil too? What sorts do you grow and what do you use it for?

34 thoughts on “The Best Pesto I Have Ever Eaten!

    • You’re welcome! Ours never gets a chance to flower as we eat it non-stop all summer! πŸ˜‰ Sadly this last batch used up the last of our plants, as the nights are getting cold and the days too short for more growth. 😦

  1. Oh boy but this looks great, Cathy! Thank you for sharing it. I can remember when pine nuts weren’t so expensive, so it sometimes “hurts” to make the purchase! LOL! But I do love a good pesto. This really appeals to me and the addition of the cashews must really give this a creamy texture. Yum!

    • πŸ™‚ Recently we have been able to get cheaper pine nuts – from China! However, they have a strange aftertaste and the flavour is quite different. They are also short and round rather than long and thin… a different sort I presume. The texture of this pesto is perfect, but then I am biased! πŸ˜‰

    • Ours did extremely well this summer and we could have a big pot of pesto every week! πŸ˜€ I have found it loves sun and warmth, but not being rained on and not too much humidity. It’s a rather fussy plant in fact!

  2. My basil growing skills are mediocre, the leaves get eaten! But there is usually enough to snip a few leaves for dinner. For pesto I buy a bunch at the farmers market. I haven’t tried making vegan pesto, but i know that nutritional yeast adds a nice boost of flavor. A must try recipe!

    • Yes, ours got eaten too and this was the last lot for this summer I’m afraid! I am not quite sure what was eating it as I couldn’t find any caterpillars. Maybe earwigs? Have a great weekend Deb!

    • Oh no! I didn’t know slugs like it too! I grow mine in pots on a covered balcony, out of reach of most pests and nice and warm and sheltered, but something nibbled mine this year too. No sign of caterpillars so I am not sure if it was perhaps the earwigs…

  3. This recipe definitely takes pesto to the next level…can’t wait to try it. My favorite basil to grow is African Blue. It has a rough texture and lacks the licorice overtones of others.

    • I think I have grown that one too Ricki, with lovely blue flowers? I have also grown a cinnamon flavoured one called ‘Christmas’, but it is only good in small doses! πŸ™‚

  4. I love basil and pesto and will give this a try, thanks! I’ve taken to growing mostly Gorbatschow, a splendid variety, very sturdy and strong and easy to overwinter as cuttings. Apart from this one I just adore cinnamon basil.

    • I must look out for that one then Annette. I usually grow the ‘Genoveser’ which has nice big leaves for pesto. I have grown the cinnamon one in the past too, but found I prefer the plain one for pesto.

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