This cashew pesto is so flavorful and it only takes minutes to make. You can use it as a spread or a sauce – just add water!
Traditional pesto includes two types of cheese: parmesan and pecorino sardo, a cheese made from sheep’s milk. If you’ve been into vegan cooking for awhile, then you may already know that raw cashews and nutritional make the perfect vegan parmesan, so those are the ingredients I decided to use to recreate this classic Italian sauce. It also doesn’t hurt that cashews are far less expensive than pine nuts.
The word pesto roughly translates to paste, which is exactly what this is. If you like a thin, saucy pesto, you can simply add more liquid, but I like mine thick; the kind of pesto you can scoop up with a spoon and spread on a piece of toast.
Special thanks to Gourmet Nuts and Dried Fruit for providing the cashews for this recipe!
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 cloves garlic
- Coarse sea salt
- Cracked pepper
- Fresh lemon juice
- Add cashews and garlic to a blender and blend on high until coarsely ground but not pureed.
- Add basil leaves and blend on high until incorporated.
- Add nutritional yeast, olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend on low until evenly mixed.
- Transfer to a jar and store in the fridge for up to one week.
If you want to use this pesto as a pasta sauce, boil pasta until al dente. Then transfer to a mixing bowl but save the pasta water. Add a spoonful or two of the pesto, and then stir while slowly adding some of the pasta water back to the noodles.