Vegan Basil Pesto

Substituting cheese in the traditional Pesto Genovese recipe is easier than you might imagine. In fact, all you need is flaked nutritional yeast to make a Vegan Basil Pesto suitable for seasoning your pasta dishes.
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Vegan Basil Pesto
  • Difficulty Easy
  • Prep 5 minutes
  • Servings 4 people

The Genovese Pesto is one of the cornerstones of traditional Italian cuisine whose ingredients are strictly codified. The idea of proposing Vegan Basil Pesto stems from the need to replace Parmesan and make a version also suitable for those who follow a vegan diet.

To replace the cheese, the Recipe for Vegan Pesto calls for the use of Food Yeast Flakes, that is, deactivated yeast whose flavor is reminiscent of cheese. The other ingredients, however, remain unchanged: Basilico, Garlic, Oil and Pine Nuts, as well as a generous pinch of coarse salt. The Vegan Genovese Pesto can be prepared either in a mortar, as traditionally, or with a food processor, and used to season your pasta dishes.

If you are looking for some ideas for using your freshly prepared Vegan Basil Pesto to make some tasty vegan pasta dishes, take inspiration from our recipes for the Spaghetti with Pesto and Green Beans, from the Risotto al Pesto or the scenic Bread Crown with Pesto.


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  1. To prepare the Vegan Basil Pesto, put the garlic and coarse salt in a mortar and start pounding it into a cream.

  2. Then add the pine nuts and continue pounding until they are blended.

  3. Add the basil and a few more grains of salt and continue to pound in circular motions until you get a sort of cream. Help yourself by drizzling in the oil and, lastly, scent with the nutritional yeast.

  4. Your vegan pesto alla genovese is ready to be used to season the most delicious pasta dishes.


It is possible to replace the pine nuts in the original recipe with other nuts as desired, while lying the proportion unchanged.


If you don’t have a mortar, you can put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend, adding the oil in a flush. In this case we recommend that you also add an ice cube so as to preserve the bright green color of the basil.


Vegan Basil Pesto can be stored in a glass jar covered with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil for 3-4 days. Alternatively, freeze it in glass jars already portioned.