Vegan Walnut Pesto

Traditionally made with pine nuts, this version of 5-ingredient vegan pesto is prepared with raw, unsalted walnuts. Use this pesto on your pasta or roasted vegetables, as a salad dressing, or a dip for raw vegetables. Simple, flavorful, and quick, this versatile vegan walnut pesto is sure to be your new go-to sauce.

Vegan walnut pesto topped with hemp seeds, walnuts, and basil leaves with vegetables in the background.

All that you need for this pesto are 5 simple ingredients and a small food processor. Toss the raw walnuts, fresh basil, vegan parmesan cheese, olive oil, and salt and pepper into a small food processor blending until combined. I prefer a smooth, thick pesto but feel free to prepare it to fit your preference and desired use.

Pesto Texture

If this pesto is going to be used traditionally for coating pasta or vegetables, make sure that it’s relatively smooth and pourable. You want it to be just thick enough to stick.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be using this pesto as a dip or spread, it would be best served with some chunks of walnuts. You can process the ingredients until smooth and then pulse in extra walnuts. Alternatively, dice some walnuts yourself and toss them in after processing. You will also want the pesto to be fairly thick so that it can scooped up.

To use this vegan walnut pesto as a salad dressing, make sure that it’s very smooth and has a very pourable consistency. You can achieve this by adding more olive oil or water to the pesto while processing.

Be sure to share with me in the comments below how you are going to be using this pesto.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Basil: Phytochemicals; volatile oils (antibacterial properties)

Garlic: Phytochemicals

Olive oil: Monounsaturated fats

Walnuts: Omega-3s, thiamine, B6, folic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, Vitamin E, polyphenols

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Walnut Pesto

Earthy, nutty, creamy, this pesto is perfect when paired with roasted vegetable or used as a sauce on your favorite pasta. Be bold and use it as a salad dressing or even a dip for raw vegetables.

  • ½ cup walnuts (raw, unsalted)
  • ¼ cup fresh basil
  • ½-¾ cup olive oil (depending on desired consistency)
  • 2-3 tbsp vegan parmesan (*see notes below*)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  1. Place all ingredients in a small food processor and pulse until well combined. Start by adding ¼ cup of olive oil and increase amount to reach desired consistency.

  2. Serve on roasted vegetables or pasta. Use as a marinade for tofu or tempeh. Add to a fresh salad for a dressing or dip tray with raw vegetables.

I love this recipe for vegan hemp parmesan cheese from Hannah Chia.

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