Vegan Pesto Sauce

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This vegan pesto sauce recipe not only tastes good but it makes you feel good to serve your family. It’s versatile and your lactose intolerant family members can eat it because I replace the cheese with Simply Organic® nutritional yeast.

Thick pesto sauce shown in a jar, with yeast, pasta and a salad in the backgroundPinPin

**This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Simply Organic Foods. The opinions and text in this post are all mine.** #OrganicMoments @SimplyOrganicFoods #sponsored

I’ve mentioned before that I used to be a vegetarian and then a vegan. After 9 years, I realized that I had to stop being a vegetarian/vegan because I was dreaming about eating meat so much. I felt it was my body telling me that I needed more protein.

For many years, during both phases in my life, I used nutritional yeast in place of cheese; especially when I suspected the recipe might cause me stomach issues. Sometimes I don’t do well with the mixing of cheese and tomatoes.

That includes pizza and now I prefer a white pizza.

So, I sprinkle nutritional yeast on “iffy” food items and lately I’ve been doing it more often.

Nutritional yeast goes so well in pesto and you won’t even miss the cheese.

Nutritional yeast and its uses

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast with a robust flavor. If you haven’t had it before, let me explain how it tastes. It is is cheesy and nutty. Like some cheeses, it can also be pungent and earthy-tasting.

That makes it perfect to add to a variety of sauces where you might otherwise use cheese. It is also delicious sprinkled on salad, popcorn, vegetables and more.

One of the things I love about the Simply Organic spices and seasonings is that they are, well, organic. I try to use organic whenever I can so I was happy to find this brand. I know its products will be fresh and taste delicious which is important to me.

I encourage you to visit the Simply Organic website, which is chock full of different recipe ideas. You may be as pleased as I was to find that not only is the brand 100% certified organic, but it also contributes 1% of product sales to support organic growers and the organic community.  I love feeling I’m part of that support.

Here is a direct link for the Simply Organic nutritional yeast. You might want to check whether one of your local supermarkets carries it. If not, you can always order it online.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you click the link and buy something. You can read my disclosure here.

How to make vegan pesto sauce


Get a food processor.

Step one

Nutritional yeast, basil and parsley.

Nutritional yeast, basil, parsley, nuts and oil on the tablePin

Step two

Take the stems off both the basil and parsley and add them to the food processor container.

Step three

Add lemon juice, garlic paste, salt, pistachios, chopped walnuts and olive oil.

Step four

I measure out some nutritional yeast and put them all in a little bowl so I can take a dramatic pour shot.  (It’s a food photography thing!)

1 Tablespoon of nutritional yeast in front bottle and herb filled food processorPin

Step five

I pour the yeast into the processor.

Pouring in the yeast in the processorPin

All the ingredients in the processor.

Overhead shot for the food processor with all the ingredients in itPin

Step six

Lock the cover on the processor and turn it on high for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides with a spatula and process the pesto sauce for an additional minute.

Use it or Jar it

I transfer the pesto to a jar, make a salad and plate some freshly made pasta.

Thick pesto sauce shown in a jar, with yeast, pasta and a salad in the backgroundPinPin

I take a few teaspoons of the sauce and dollop it on the pasta and mix it all together to coat the pasta.

Pesto sauce mixed in with pasta with a salad in the backgroundPin

Christopher loves this dish!  Let’s take a closer look at the pesto-covered pasta!

Close up of a white bowl with pesto pasta with a bottle, jar and salad in the backgroundPin

I hope you enjoyed this vegan pesto sauce recipe.

Here are some other ideas for using this sauce: spread it on bread, toss it into salads or eat it by the spoonful.

Other sauce recipes

And as always, may all your dishes be delish!!

If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog, I’d love the hear what you thought about it in the comments below.  I love hearing from you!  You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST  to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

A jar of pesto sauce with yeast, salad and a bowl of pasta in the backgroundPin

Versatile Vegan Pesto Sauce

This versatile vegan pesto sauce has such a delicious flavor!  The secret is the nutritional yeast.
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dressings
Cuisine: Sauce
Keyword: vegan pesto sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 32 Tablespoons
Calories: 33kcal


So Easy

  • 4 ounces fresh basil (4 – 5 cups), stripped of the stems
  • 2 cups fresh parsley packed, stripped off stalks
  • 1/2 cup pistachios raw and unsalted
  • 1/2 cup walnuts raw and unsalted
  • 1 ounce lemon juice 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1   cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast Simply Organic brand


    Food processor


      Making it

      • Place all the above ingredients in the food processor and turn it on high for 1 minute
      • Scrape down sides and continue to process for an additional minute or until all the ingredients are combined
      • Transfer to jar for storage
      • Or use right away and place a few tablespoons on some freshly made pasta and mix it together until the pasta is covered
      • Eat
      • Smile
      • Enjoy
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      This pesto will be spoonable.  Each time I use it, depending on how I use it, I add olive oil to thin it out!


      Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 33kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 38mg | Potassium: 73mg | Vitamin A: 510IU | Vitamin C: 6.1mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.5mg
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      Recipe Rating


      1. I actually just started sprinkling nutritional yeast on my popcorn and I love it! Such a amazing idea to put it in pesto!!! I have so much basil and I am planning to make pizza soon! Going to use this on it! 😀

        1. Yay Joyce! It’s so good. I love putting Nutritional yeast on different things and popcorn is the bomb!

      2. I had not seen nutritional yeast in that nice glass bottle of theirs yet. Very good to know. I don’e really need those large containers. Your pesto is fantastic!

      3. Lovely! I love pesto and loving using different nuts and seeds. I never add dairy to mine either. I’ll have to try this version – sounds wonderful!

      4. I’m a big fan of nooch, but never thought to add it to pesto, why haven’t I done this before! Your photos are stunning too.

      5. This looks simply scrumptious! I love the naturally brilliant emerald color and the addition of nutritional yeast! (Which is also super yummy on popcorn!)

      6. I am practically an obligate omnivore, so the idea of trying nutritional yeast had never occurred to me. If it tastes cheesy and nutty—AND it’s healthy—what’s not to love?! Apart from that, pesto is already such an incredibly rich sauce that the idea of adding nutritional yeast rather than cheese appeals to me. Your pesto looks absolutely vibrant: I can’t wait to give it a try!

      7. Excellent idea to swap the cheese for the nutritional yeast! I’ll have to give that a try! Fantastic, as usual, Elaine!

      8. I’ve never cooked with nutritional yeast but the pesto looks and sounds amazing! I’d be happy to try it even though I happily eat cheese.

        1. Hehe Corina! I used to use nutritional yeast a lot. But now I use it when there is something that I mix with cheese that unsettles my tummy.

        1. It is a great replacement Carol. Just don’t expect it to ‘melt’, it just gives the flavor! Thank you for your comment! 🙂

      9. Lol! Another delicious recipe Elaine, the photos are awesome, the snowing one is top, if you hadn’t added it, I would have complained “Why not a snowing picture?” Fun apart, I had never heard of nutritional yeast before and I like that you explain how it tastes and how to use it. I want to try using it, of course with your delish pesto sauce! 🙂

      10. I love that Simply Organics Nutritional Yeast is flakes instead of powder! I hope my local supermarket carries it! Thanks!