This healthy vegan pesto has less than half the calories and fat of traditional pesto, but it’s even creamier and just as delicious! Made with cashew cream, this healthy vegan pesto is going to rock your world!Print
Healthy Vegan Pesto
This healthy vegan pesto has less than half the calories and fat of traditional pesto, but it’s even creamier and just as delicious! Made with cashew cream, this healthy vegan pesto is going to rock your world.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 30 mins
- Yield: 5 servings
- 1/2 cup cashew cream*
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
- dash cayenne pepper
- 1/2 clove garlic
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender* and blend until creamy. Toss with pasta and eat!
– To make cashew cream, combine 3/4 cup hot water with 1/2 cup cashews and let sit for 30 minutes (or up to 8 hours). Blend the cashews with their soaking liquid in 30-second increments until creamy (it usually takes me about 2-3 minutes total blending time). This makes about a cup – reserve the other half and use it for another purpose, like vegan blueberry muffins or mashed potatoes!
– You can make the pesto in a blender, but it requires more effort than a food processor. I made mine in a blender, though, to save on dishes. But you’ve been warned.
– I haven’t tried using this pesto in a scenario where it gets cooked (like on pizza or in lasagna), so I can’t guarantee the results there. If you try that let me know in the comments below!
Read more about this healthy vegan pesto!
This pesto seriously has me all like ???
I’ve always known that pesto isn’t that great for you. I mean, it’s got a ton of oil in it and usually a bunch of cheese. And you all know me… I’m totally okay with eating healthy oils and I do like my fair share of cheese. But pesto always felt like a really decadent food that I probably didn’t want to make a habit of.
Until now!! I have cracked the code to a healthy yet still delicious pesto, and the secret is cashew cream. Cashew cream is so versatile – I’ve used it to make the creamiest mashed potatoes ever (creamier than even those with butter and cream), I’ve used it to make tender & rich vegan blueberry muffins, and I’ve used it to make vegan caramels.
And now, it’s in pesto!
When I made this healthy pesto, I didn’t really have any goals in mind. I thought it might be healthier than regular ‘ol pesto for sure, but I wasn’t sure how much healthier. When we ate it I was amazed at how creamy it was and how much it tasted like regular pesto. So my hopes weren’t all that high…
But today, as I was writing this post, I checked up on the nutrition. I took the same exact recipe for the pesto and swapped 1/2 cup olive oil for the 1/2 cup cashew cream, and this is what I got:
Wooooaaaahhh woah!! Holy cow! Just that one quick swap led to massive changes. My healthy pesto has less than half the calories and fat of regular pesto – and that doesn’t even take into consideration the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese that usually goes into regular pesto!
I was totally blown away to see those numbers. I’m not usually a calorie junkie, but with numbers like that it’s hard not to be.
The best thing is that you would never know. Never ever. Not even your Italian grandmother (okay…. maybe your Italian grandmother would know). But for the most of us, this swap is one that is totally behind-the-scenes, meaning your dinner guests never have to know that the creamy delicious pesto on the pasta you’re serving up is actually really healthy compared to the regular stuff.
The only thing that someone might notice is the lack of oil that pools at the bottom of the dish. But I don’t think that’s something anyone is really going to miss…
I served this pesto in a really simple dish of pasta with sauteed mushrooms and veggie sausages. It was super easy, delicious, and totally doable on a weeknight. Success!!
Nutrition info above is for one serving – the recipe makes 5 servings (that’s what we got out of it, at least).