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Spoonful of Pesto scooped out of a food processor.

Simple 5 Minute Vegan Pesto Recipe

We love adding pesto to everything because it's bursting with so much dang flavour!!! It's garlicky, tangy, creamy, healthy, and soooo simple to make. Try it smothered on our Vegan Mealball subs for an incredibly magical plant-based meal!
Course Dips and Sauces
Cuisine Plant Based, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword dairy-free pesto sauce, easy pesto recipe, vegan pesto
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Tracy Halasz


  • food processor


  • 2 cups arugula leaves (loose pack), rough chop
  • ¼ cup basil leaves, rough chop
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, rough chop
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil (if oil free, use vegetable broth)
  • 2+ tbsp vegan parmesan cheese*
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice (more to taste)
  • sea salt, to taste


  • I use my homemade vegan parmesan recipe or a favorite vegan parmesan brand.
  • Rough chop the greens, garlic and nuts. Add to food processor and pulse a few times to a crumble consistency.
  • Place the remaining ingredients into the food processor and pulse until it starts to come together as a paste. Stop and scrape down the sides as necessary.
  • With the motor running, slowly drizzle the oil through the spout until the pesto becomes a thick but loose sauce.
    Add a splash of water if necessary to get the correct consistency and texture.
  • Taste test and adjust for flavours and texture.
    Lemon for acidity and brightness, salt to bring out flavours, parmesan or nutritional yeast for cheesiness, walnuts for nuttiness and richness, and garlic for pungency.


Oil-free cooking: If oil free, switch out the oil for vegetable broth (I like this one).
Greens: Basil is the traditional green in a classic pesto, but you can use any combination of greens and still get a tasty pesto.
Nut Options: Pine nuts are the traditional choice; but I love walnuts for their nutrient powers as well as flavour. You could also use pistachios with a delicious outcome.
Pro Tip: Lightly toast the nuts in a dry pan on the stove over medium heat (they go fast, so stick around, give the pan and shake, and remove from heat when they start to turn golden).
Storage: The pesto can be frozen. For convenience, freeze in ice cube trays, pop out, and move to freezer bag once frozen. Use them in soups and stews over the next couple of months.