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Easy Vegan Keto Pesto {nut-free options}

My easy vegan keto pesto is the most versatile sauces you can make! It is ready in under 5 minutes and can be used for pasta, soups, sandwiches, dips, and more! It is high in protein, too.
easy vegan keto pesto in a glass jar

Pesto is, without question one of my favorite foods. I mean it. My mother made it in large batches every summer with the basil from her garden. We devoured it on pasta and tomatoes while the weather was warm, but she then added it to soups, sandwiches and baked goods the rest of the year.

I know, lucky me!

But now it can be luck you with my Easy Vegan Keto Pesto.

Pesto Made without Cheese or Pine Nuts

Pine nuts and cheese are key ingredients in traditional pesto. And yet, here I am, telling you that my recipe has neither. 

Fear not! The results are 100% delectable and I guarantee, you will love it.

The pesto is still cheese-y (from nutritional yeast, not cheese) and creamy (thanks to olive oil, seeds or nuts, and blending), making this a sauce that can loved by one and all.

Use Seeds or Nuts in Place of Pine Nuts

Pine nuts are buttery, creamy, and traditional for pesto. But they are also VERY expensive. I eschewd them long ago for that very reason and have never looked back, especially once I  discovered that just about any other nut  will do.

sunflower seeds, walnuts and almond on a cutting board

These days I use shelled raw sunflower seeds or pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) most often. It is ideal when sharing the sauce with freinds who cannot eat nuts.

How to Make Vegan Keto Pesto

Preparing the pesto takes less than 5 minutes from start to finish.

easy vegan keto pesto being made in a food processor

You can literally chuck all of the ingredients start into the food processor (or a blender) and pulse until smooth. However, I find I get more consistent results by first processing the basil, seeds/nuts, garlic and yeast until finely chopped, and then again until almost a paste. Add the liquid ingredients (oil and water) and blend until smooth.

That’s it!

How to Use Vegan Pesto 

This pesto is so versatile–no need to limit its use! Here are some more ideas of how to use it:

  1. Pasta (my favorite pasta sauce, ever)
  2. Soups (drizzle or stir-in)
  3. Dip or Spread
  4. Rice topping (regular, or cauliflower rice)
  5. Pizza sauce
  6. Salad dressing;
  7. In sandwiches and burgers;
  8. Baked potatoes (topping, for regular or sweet)
  9. Roasted vegetables 
  10. Baking (bake into breads and muffins)

Enjoy, and happy cooking!

Related Posts:

  1. Vegan White Bean Pesto {High Protein, Nut-Free}
  2. Mustard Greens Pepita Pesto {Vegan, Nut-Free}
  3. Cheese-y Chickpea Flour Crackers {grainfree, vegan}
  4. Cauliflower Rice Paella {vegan, keto option}
  5. Beet & Toasted Pepita Dip {vegan, oil-free, nut-free}
  6. 3-Ingredient Vegan Pesto Muffins {grain-free}
Yield: 1 cup (250 mL)

Easy Vegan Pesto {nut-free options}

easy vegan pesto in a glass jar

My easy vegan keto pesto is quick to make & so versatile! Use it for pasta, soups, sandwiches, dips, and more! It is high in protein, too.


  • 2 packed cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2/3 cup shelled sunflower seeds, pepitas, almonds or walnuts
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a food processor, pulse the basil, seeds (or nuts), garlic and nutritional yeast  until finely chopped. Stop and crape down sides of bowl; process again until a loose paste begins to form.
  2. Add the water and oil; pulse until desired consistency (rough, or very smooth) is achieved.
  3. until a thick paste forms, scrapping sides. Add extra virgin olive oil and water, one tablespoon at a time, until smooth. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Enjoy!


Storage: Store the vegan pesto in an airtight container (jars are great) in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. To free it (it freezes beautifully), divide it in an ice cube tray and, once frozen, pop the cubes into an airtight bag or container (store for up to 6 months).


Nutrition Information

Serving Size

2 tablespoons (30 mL)

Amount Per Serving Calories 115Total Fat 10.4gSaturated Fat 1.6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 35.9mgCarbohydrates 1.9gFiber 1.6gSugar 0.1gProtein 4.9g

Did you make this recipe?

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Sunday 18th of September 2022

Can anything replace the yeast?


Thursday 24th of July 2008

This is the best pesto EVER!


Wednesday 2nd of July 2008

Camilla,Cthank you so much for this pesto. I cannot eat nuts or dairy, this is so easy and so good, plus my husband can enjoy it, too!


Friday 27th of June 2008

YUM! Cannot wait to try this.

Lisa W

Thursday 26th of June 2008

I check out your blog everyday and was thrilled to see this...and then make it! It is delicious, I made it with sunflower seeds.

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