Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce ( Vegan & Dairy-free)

Category : KITCHEN BASICS

Author: David

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Say goodbye to the store-bought pesto sauce because after trying this healthy homemade Basil Pesto sauce, there is no turning back. It’s so flavorful and delicious. Plus, this homemade basil pesto is made from 8 simple ingredients and comes together in just 15 minutes.

Use it in all your favorite recipes ranging from pasta, bread, and sandwiches without compromising on any flavor. 

Basil tops the list of must-grown herbs for summer. Growing basil at home is such a delight.

The chances are that some of us are either growing basil in our backyard or on our kitchen windowsill. It’s like picking fresh basil in the comfort of your own home and adding it to your favorite dish. 

But today, I am going to use up some of my homegrown basil to make pesto. Homemade basil pesto is my favorite recipe to prepare in bulk during summer. 

Basil pesto is exceptionally versatile and can be put on just about anything you can think of. Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce  

The other night, I layered my parathas (Indian flatbread) with homemade pesto, and it tasted heavenly. 

This recipe uses just eight easy ingredients that are dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan and takes only 15 minutes from start to finish. I mean, what more could you ask for?

And the result is a homemade pesto sauce that is protein-packed, flavorful, rich, and packed with an abundance of fragrant fresh herbs. Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce  

The best part, you can bottle up the leftover pesto and store it in your refrigerator or fridge and use it whenever a recipe calls for it. Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce  

What is Pesto? 

Pesto is an Italian creamy herb sauce that involves no cooking. It comes from the Italian verb Pestare, which means to crush, as in grind or pound. 

Did you know – the traditional way of making a pesto sauce required a mortar and pestle to pound the fresh herbs and blend it with the other ingredients? 

Impressive, right!

Actually, all that pounding and hand crushing of the ingredients provides pesto with its signature ‘texture’ and characteristic ‘flavor.’

Handmade pesto is undoubtedly the flavorful and delicious pesto than the one made in a blender or food processor. 

Ingredients in  Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce

Classic pesto doesn’t require any fancy ingredients. Many of the ingredients used in this recipe are probably available in your pantry. Let’s have a look – 

» Basil leaves – The key ingredient and foundation of this sauce. Always use fresh leaves as they are incredibly fragrant and loaded with flavor. 

» Pinenuts – I always use toasted pinenuts in my basil pesto. Toasted pinenuts add a great depth of flavor to the pesto. You can swap pinenuts for pistachios, walnuts, cashews, or even almonds. Make sure to toast them before adding them to the recipe. 

» Garlic cloves – always use fresh as it’s a flavor powerhouse and lends a distinctive smell and taste. Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce  

» Lemon Juice – lightens up the overall flavor and adds an acidic touch to the pesto. Its acidic nature mellows down the strong flavor of raw garlic and also helps to balance out the fats from olive oil. 

» Nutritional Yeast – it’s a very versatile pantry staple and lends a cheese-like umami flavor to our pesto. It’s a vegan substitute for Parmesan cheese.

» Salt and black pepper – to flavor our pesto. Pepper adds a slight touch of heat to the pesto. Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce  

» Olive oil – use extra virgin olive oil for our homemade Basil pesto recipe. It’s low in acidity, creamy, and delicious. When added to pesto, it prevents oxidation and slows the basil pesto from turning brown. Furthermore, it ties together the flavors of the ingredients. 

How to make Homemade Basil Pesto recipe?

For detailed instructions and measurements, please scroll to the bottom of the page for a printable recipe card. 

Before you begin with this recipe, make sure you rinse your greens thoroughly under cold water to get rid of all the gritty things. 

Dry it in-between layers of paper towels and add it to the food processor.

Add the rest of the ingredients – toasted pinenuts, garlic, salt, black pepper, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice to a food processor. Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce  

Blend on HIGH until it forms a paste.

Now, pour in olive oil, a few drizzles at a time, and PULSE in 5-8 seconds burst. Add olive oil steadily. Scrape the sides at regular intervals.

Continue blending until the desired texture is attained. The finished pesto should have the consistency of a creamed butter – smooth and creamy.

If you find the basil pesto dry, add an extra tablespoon of EVOO to achieve the consistency you like. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce  

Feel free to add an extra teaspoon of nutritional cheese for a cheesy flavor. 

Homemade basil pesto stores well covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Don’t forget to drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on top of the container. This will prevent discoloration.

After that transfer, the leftover pesto an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. You can even pour pesto in ice cube trays and freeze. 

Freezing homemade basil pesto is a great way to preserve those fresh summer flavors. 

Expert tips to make the best Homemade Basil Pesto recipe

» No basil leaves? No worries. You can swap basil leaves for fresh spinach, cilantro, arugula, parsley, or kale leaves if you prefer. You can either use one of the greens or combine two to create your own flavor combinations. Though the use of a different green will alter the taste slightly, it still turns out delicious. 

» Likewise, you can switch the pinenuts is this basil pesto recipe with either walnut, pistachios, almonds, or cashews.

» If you have nut-allergy, try sunflower seeds as an option.

» Feel free to scale the garlic in the recipe as per liking. I prefer my pesto to have a pronounced garlicky flavor, but feel free to experiment. Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce  

» I have added pinenuts that were already toasted. But if the pinenuts or any other nuts that you are using are not toasted, I would recommend toast your pinenuts first. Toasting the dry nuts deepens the flavor and gives the pesto a nice touch. 

» Since my version of basil pesto sauce is vegan, I have added nutritional yeast but feel free to swap nutritional yeast for cashew parmesan or regular parmesan cheese.

You can serve homemade Basil pesto sauce with grilled chicken, toss with pasta, in a sandwich, stir it into soup, or just spread it on a toast and enjoy. The possibilities are endless!

Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe. Feel free to contact me with any questions or inquiries, and I would be happy to answer them.

Some delicious ways to use up pesto-

This recipe post has been updated from the archives, first published on April 20th, 2015
  • Before you begin with this recipe, make sure you rinse your greens thoroughly under cold water to get rid of all the gritty things. 

  • Dry it in-between layers of paper towels and add it to the food processor.

  • Add the rest of the ingredients – toasted pinenuts, garlic, salt, black pepper, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice to a food processor.Blend on HIGH until it forms a paste.
  • Now, pour in olive oil, a few drizzles at a time, and PULSE in 5-8 seconds burst. Add olive oil steadily. Scrape the sides at regular intervals.

  • Continue blending until the desired texture is attained. The finished pesto should have the consistency of a creamed butter – smooth and creamy.

  • If you find the basil pesto dry, add an extra tablespoon of EVOO to achieve the consistency you like. Taste and adjust the seasonings. 

  • Feel free to add an extra teaspoon of nutritional cheese for a cheesy flavor. 

  • Homemade basil pesto stores well covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.

  • Don’t forget to drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on top of the container. This will prevent discoloration.

 
Expert tips to make the best Homemade Basil Pesto recipe
 
» No basil leaves? No worries. You can swap basil leaves for fresh spinach, cilantro, arugula, parsley, or kale leaves if you prefer. You can either use one of the greens or combine two to create your own flavor combinations. Though the use of a different green will alter the taste slightly, it still turns out delicious. 
 
» Likewise, you can switch the pinenuts is this basil pesto recipe with either walnut, pistachios, almonds, or cashews.
 
» If you have nut-allergy, try sunflower seeds as an option.
 
» Feel free to scale the garlic in the recipe as per liking. I prefer my pesto to have a pronounced garlicky flavor, but feel free to experiment. 
 
» I have added pinenuts that were already toasted. But if the pinenuts or any other nuts that you are using are not toasted, I would recommend toast your pinenuts first. Toasting the dry nuts deepens the flavor and gives the pesto a nice touch. 
 
» Since my version of basil pesto sauce is vegan, I have added nutritional yeast but feel free to swap nutritional yeast for cashew parmesan or regular parmesan cheese.
 

Calories: 54kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 37mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 158IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutritional information provided above is approximate. Variations may exist due to the ingredients/brands used. These numbers should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician.

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indianfoodclub

Welcome to my incredible food paradise! If you are passionate about food, this is the right place to explore exquisite recipes. From tasty starters, delicious meals, and blissful sweet delights, here you will find everything to please the gourmet in you. 

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