A Deliciously Vegan Basil Pesto Recipe
This recipe is easy, it includes simple ingredients, and you can make it from just one basil plant. You can read about my other windowsill herbs in this post, which includes links to another super vegan pesto that’s made from parsley, mint and pistachio!
One Basil Plant Recipe?
Look up any recipe that uses fresh basil leaves to make pesto and you will see that you’ll need cups of the stuff, sometimes as much as 100 grammes. One plant will not give you this amount. In fact you’ll probably need about six plants to give you this amount. One plant, whether shop bought, or grown from seeds will probably give you about 20 grammes max, but that’s just my experience.
Do I plan on having six plants in the future, gracing my windowsill – well why not! I just adore its smell. But for now it’s one plant – meaning two small jars of basil packed pesto that can be used for pasta, as a topping for pizza, as a dip for breadsticks, or spread on toasted sandwiches.
Why Vegan Pesto?
Since becoming a pescatarian (I don’t eat meat but I do eat fish), I do my best to refrain from eating cheeses that contain animal rennet. Animal rennet is an enzyme that’s derived from the stomach of calves, lambs and kid goats, and can only be done so before they consume anything other than milk – hence the reason the enzyme isn’t taken from the stomachs of cows, sheep and goats. Parmesan, one of the main ingredients in pesto is made with animal rennet.
What Do I Use instead of Parmesan?
I like the taste of Parmesan in pesto. Actually I like it on most of my pasta or pizza dishes so as a substitute I’ve started to use Nutritional Yeast. It’s a man made yeast like Baker’s Yeast or Brewer’s Yeast, except for the fact that it’s washed and heated to make it inactive which means that it doesn’t froth or grow like these other yeasts.
Most brands of nutritional yeasts are fortified with Vitamin B12, making them a healthy addition to dishes too.
I add two cloves of garlic because I like garlic, but taste test yours first with one clove. You might not yield a large mason jar but it’ll be enough for a couple smaller jars. You can even add more olive oil to yours to stretch it when using it on pasta or as a dip. This recipe only takes five minutes to prepare, and it’s definitely worth that little bit of effort.
Vegan Basil Pesto Recipe using Nutritional Yeast
- 14 – 20g of Fresh Basil Leaves (usually what one basil plant will yield)
- 10g of Pine Nuts
- 1 Clove of Garlic (taste test and use two if you really like garlic, like I do)
- 4 Teaspoons of Nutritional Yeast
- 6 Teaspoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Pinch of Sea Salt ground
- Pinch Coarse Black Pepper
- Drizzle of Lemon Juice
- Put everything into a food processor and blend.
- Have a taste.
- Add a little more salt or that extra clove of garlic, depending on your taste.
- This pesto will last about a week in the fridge but between 6-12 months in the freezer, but believe me it won’t last that long … because you’ll have eaten it by then!
- Experiment with the quantities of the ingredients to make your perfect blend.