One of my favourite kitchen tools is my blender. I find myself reaching for the beloved kitchen gadget almost daily to prepare fruity smoothie bowls, tasty vegan pancakes and perfectly creamy hummus. And today, friends, I would like to share with you my latest blender recipe: this creamy vegan pesto pasta. (Food processors are also permitted. But blenders > food processors and you know it.)
Is pesto vegan?
Pesto isn’t normally vegan, and sometimes isn’t even vegetarian, as it contains Parmesan cheese made from animal products. This homemade vegan, dairy-free version is still perfectly creamy thanks to the help of nutritional yeast.
You know I love nutritional yeast. These deactivated yeast flakes have a subtle cheesy, nutty flavour whilst being healthy and nutritious. I mean, it is in the name 🙂 Here are just a few of my favourite nutritional yeast recipes from the blog archives:
Vegan chilli ‘cheese’ popcorn – perfect for movie nights with friends.
Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo – this is honestly one of my favourite recipes on the blog. Creamy, cheesy and secretly healthy!
Tofu scramble – a tasty vegan alternative to scrambled egg!
Things to make with pesto:
A good idea is to prepare a double batch of this creamy pesto and use it in various dishes throughout the week. For example:
1. Toss it through some pasta and serve hot for dinner or cold for packed lunches. Check out a few other vegan lunchbox ideas here.
2. Add it to your sandwiches and wraps! This adds extra flavour to your lunch without the need for shop-bought condiments which can be high in salt and saturated fats. Bonus point if you make your sandwich into a toasted version.
3. Use it as a pizza topping! Vegan cheese, homemade pesto, and sliced fresh tomatoes is one of my favourite pizza topping combos. Don’t fancy making a pizza base? You could use a tortilla or my personal favourite, a pita bread, instead!
4. Put it on your avocado toast. This might sound a little out-there but trust me, it is super tasty. And super green.
Can you only make pesto with basil?
A variety of greens work well in pesto! Some of my favourite choices are spinach, kale, and of course basil. I prefer to use a 50/50 mix of spinach and basil in this recipe. The basil adds a gorgeous aroma and that classic pesto-flavour, whilst spinach makes the pesto a gorgeously bright green.
Spinach is a nutritionally dense leaf. This green is high in iron, which is an important constituent of the protein haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen in the bloodstream to feed respiring cells with this vital gas. In summary, eat spinach and your cells will be very happy 🙂
I do hope you make this super quick and easy recipe (not to mention tasty!) If you, do tag me on Instagram @shivanilf #shivanilovesfood so I can see your creations! Also keep updated on the latest vegan recipes by following along on Pinterest and Facebook – I look forward to seeing you there!
Vegan Pesto Pasta
- 2 handfuls Greens I used half basil, half spinach
- 2 tablespoons Hazelnuts or pine nuts/walnuts
- 1/2 clove Garlic
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Nutritional Yeast optional, for cheesy flavour
- 1/4 Lemon juiced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 100 grams Fusilli Pasta to serve
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta for 10 minutes until tender.
- Meanwhile, add the greens, hazelnuts, garlic, olive oil, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a blender or food processor along with 2 tablespoons of water. Blend until creamy and thick.
- Drain the pasta and toss with the pesto sauce. Serve hot.
- You can make this oil-free by replacing the oil with water, or add more oil for extra richness.
- I like to blend my pesto until its creamy and almost-smooth, but if you like a chunkier texture blend it a little less. Double check for no large lumps of garlic!
- Any leftover pesto can be stored in an airtight jar in the fridge for a few days.
- Life hack: make a DOUBLE batch of this pesto pasta on the weekend and pack the leftovers for lunch! You could also make some hummus to pack with veggies.