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Fresh Basil Pesto- Vegan Recipe

One of my favorite things about summer is the bounty of fresh herbs that are in my kitchen garden. There’s something so satisfying about plucking fresh herbs that you grew with so much love.

Pesto is not only delicious but super healthy too. It is a great source of Vitamin K, Vitamin E & Vitamin C. It is highly rich in antioxidants that helps fight free radicals. In fact, it helps to reduce your blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, and cancer risk. Also, high in unsaturated fat, it is great for your heart health and for your kids healthy weight gain.

What is a pesto and how you can use it?

Traditional pesto is a blend of fresh sweet basil, garlic, pine nuts, extra-virgin olive oil and Parmesan cheese. While pesto may seem fancy and gourmet, but homemade pesto is very easy to make. It will literally take you 5 minutes. Just a few blitz in the food processor and it’s done. The flavor of sweet basil is between sweet and savory, with hints of mint, star anise, and pepper.

Pesto can be used to make grilled sandwiches, as a pizza sauce, spaghetti, salad dressing, eggs, grilled vegetables. Now you get the idea, so you can get creative and use it to create different things.

Once you’ve made the classic basil pesto recipe, try changing it up! In this recipe, I swapped the pine nuts with cashews and pumpkin seeds. 

Recipe: makes 1 cup of Pesto 


  • 2 cups tightly packed Sweet Basil
  • 1/4th cup Cashews
  • 1/4th cup Pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4th cup Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves garlic 
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice (taste and adjust)


  1. In a food processor combine, cashews, pumpkin seeds, salt & pepper. 
  2. Add lemon juice, basil leaves & garlic. Give it a nice blitz. 
  3. Now with the food processor running, keep adding olive oil little by little till everything comes together. Do not add water. Pesto is suppose to be a coarse paste and not a smooth one. 

Pesto recipe variations

  1. If you want to make it nut free, you can add hemp seeds or sunflower seeds or a combination of both. It gives a nice nutty flavour without the use of nuts. 
  2. Add Parmesan cheese if you want to make it rich & cheesy. Be mindful of salt if adding parmesan.
  3. You can use different herbs. You can try pesto with mint leaves, coriander leaves or fresh carrot leaves. You can also try combination of basil with mint leaves or basil with coriander leaves.
  4. You can also add roasted red bell pepper and sun-dried tomatoes for that extra punch. 
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