Plant BasedQuickRecipesSide Dishes

Better Basil Pesto

Better Basil Pesto

Nothing quite beats a classic basil pesto – except perhaps this Better Basil Pesto, made without the artery clogging cheese.

This is my favorite pesto recipe and I must admit that even though I like Parmesan cheese I actually prefer this pesto to one weighed down by cheese. This one is much lighter and keeps the flavors of basil and pine nuts front and center. I use this on pasta (obviously), in risotto, in salad dressings, soups, and dips.

For an even healthier basil Pesto check out my shamefully delicious Oil Free Basil Pesto. That one uses heart healthy white beans instead of the oil yet retains the full basil and pine nut flavors.

alt="healthier basil pesto in a glass bowl."

Better Basil Pesto

Dea Zoffmann
A classic Italian basil pesto, without cheese but full of flavor.
Prep Time 10 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian


  • I use a hand/immersion blender but a regular blender also works.


  • 200 grams fresh Italian basil, large stems removed (That is two seriously packed cups).
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • Pepper to taste


  • On a dry frying pan over medium heat toast the pine nuts until lightly browned. Keep an eye on them as the can quickly burn. Set aside to cool a bit before blending them with all the other ingredients.


The pesto will keep in the fridge for a few days but can also be frozen without a problem. I freeze my pesto in ice cube trays.
Keyword cheese substitute, healthy, plant based, vegan, vegetarian

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