And with this recipe I’m entering a very, very, VERY dangerous land. Because I’m from Genova, Italy (Genoa in English), which is where traditional Italian basil pesto was born and where talking about vegan pesto can be life threatening.
Basil pesto, without parmesan and pecorino cheese? Seriously? You’d better run, kid. Just Run.
BUT, I love danger (well not really but it sounds bad-a$$, doesn’t it) and I’ve wanted to experiment with this Vegan Basil Pesto anyway, mostly because my boyfriend is not from my region and he had never tasted it before, so I decided to make a dairy free basil pesto to meet his sensitivity to dairy products. And I’ve tried to get as close as possible to the taste of the traditional pesto I’ve grown up with.
So I thought: how can I get that creaminess that in the tradional recipe comes from parmesan and pecorino cheese? Well, tofu of course! Naaah, just kidding.
What actually helped me with this mission are my good ol’ friends: the cashews!
I really like them because thanks to their neutral taste they are very versatile, so much so that they can be used either in savory dishes and desserts, like my creamy cashew sauce, or this vegan coffee cream and this other creamy limoncello dessert!
This vegan basil pesto is creamy and tasty and not only perfect with pasta, but over a bruschetta too, topped with fresh, sliced cherry tomatoes, yummm! Or even better with a traditional baked lasagna, Italian style!
So let me know if you try this easy vegan basil pesto and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @sweetsensitivefree to be featured in my stories!
Soy-free Vegan Basil Pesto
- 100 gr fresh basil leaves
- 20 gr extravirgin olive oil (+ extra to go on top)
- 30 gr pine nuts
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 100 gr unsalted cashews
- 60 gr cold water
- salt (to taste)
- Soften the cashews either by letting them soak in water an hour or by boiling them a couple minutes
- Wash the basil leaves in cold water, rinsing them a couple times and making sure they're free from dirt
- Remove the skin from the garlic cloves (and their core if you want it to be more digestible)
- Put all the ingredients inside the blender, adjusting salt to taste and adding one clove of garlic at a time and tasting the pesto before adding more
- If your are not going to use it right away, pour it in a glass jar, cover it with olive oil and close the jar. Store it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days