Dairy-Free Vegan Walnut Pesto Recipe with Basil

Dairy-Free Vegan Walnut Pesto Recipe with Basil is infused with basil and makes a perfect condiment or sauce to a favorite Italian-themed recipe! Easy pesto recipe use walnuts instead of pine nuts for a more affordable and delicious sauce. Pesto with walnuts is easy to make and see my tips below for storing pesto! Take advantage of the amazing basil flavors all-year long!

Walnut Basil Pesto

I was a picky eater as a child. I hated just about everything in today’s recipe. However, taste buds change over time. It’s a good thing too because otherwise I’d be stuck with a diet of macaroni and cheese and Count Chocola. I certainly wouldn’t be eating Walnut Basil Pesto served over pasta with steamed broccoli, chopped tomatoes and black olives.

How to Make Walnut Pesto

I like to make walnut pesto by beginning with an unusual step. I saute the garlic first. It’s a personal preference because I think raw garlic can be a bit overpowering at times.

So, combine chopped garlic with olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat and cook until slightly tender, 3 – 5 minutes. However, if you like raw garlic, go ahead and leave it whole!

Ingredients for pesto in a food processor.

Next, add the cooked garlic (and any oil from the skillet) with the remaining ingredients and pulse until mostly smooth. Leaving some texture is fine.

Green Basil in Food Processor

How long can you keep walnut pesto?

Walnut pesto will keep up to a week in a sealed container in the fridge. However, you can also freeze pesto! Simply put it in an ice cube tray and once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag. When you’re ready to serve, heat one or two cubes (or however many you need) in a bowl in the microwave until melted.

What is Walnut Pesto used for?

Think of garlic pesto recipes as a condiment or sauce for your favorite dishes. You can drizzle pesto over cooked pasta or even over toast (like a crostini). A smear of pesto on a bun for your veggie burger adds a lot of flavor. Pesto can even be used to flavor grilled corn on the cob!

Which nut is used to make pesto?

Usually, pine nuts are used to make pesto. They add great flavor and nutritional value, but they are pricey. I love this recipe for making pesto with walnuts because it’s more affordable and yields an amazing flavor!

Walnut Basil Pesto, a healthy way to add all the flavors you love! #vegan

Expert Tips:

Use these tips and tricks to make this garlic pesto perfect every time:

  • I recommend cooking the garlic in a skillet over medium-low heat until tender because it causes the flavor of garlic to mellow
  • If you don’t have a food processor, a blender will work as well
  • This is a great keto pesto because it’s low in carbs. Serve it over zoodles (zucchini noodles) or low carb noodles (my favorite is Explore Foods Edamame Noodles)
  • Pesto will keep in the fridge for about a week if stored in a sealed container
  • Freeze pesto in a freezer-proof container or transfer to an ice cube tray and then transfer frozen pesto cubes into a freezer bag. These will keep up to 2 months in the freezer
  • I do not recommend pesto for canning
  • This is a dairy-free pesto using vegan parmesan
  • The nutritional estimate is for the pesto only, not including the noodles.
  • I use Nooch It Vegan Parmesan in this recipe which has only 2g net carb per tablespoon
  • You can substitute nutritional yeast flakes in place of vegan parmesan.

Do you love vegan Italian recipes? Check out this delicious and easy Vegan Lasagna recipe. It’s made with no boil lasagna noodles! You will love this Meatless Baked Ziti Recipe. Imagine ziti noodles infused in a creamy sauce, topped with marina and vegan cheese. It’s delicious!

Is Pesto good or bad for you?

Pesto is a tasty, healthy, low carb condiment or sauce that’s low in carbs and high in heart-healthy nuts. Walnuts are packed with lots of heart-healthy nutrients. In addition, the fats from the nuts and olive oil contribute to a feeling of satiety which can help with weight loss.

Looking down on a bowl of pasta with broccoli and tomatoes.

I hope you love this recipe as we do! Have you tried it? Be sure and leave a comment and a rating of this recipe below and then take a quick photo and share it with me using #namelymarly on Instagram. I love seeing your creations!

Walnut Basil Pesto, a healthy way to add all the flavors you love! #vegan

Walnut Pesto

Prepare this herb-infused Walnut Pesto with heart-healthy walnuts, olive oil, and basil. Serve this pesto over crostini, on pasta, and even as a condiment for veggie burgers!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Walnut Pesto
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 174kcal
Author: Marly


  • 3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon vegan parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Place the chopped garlic in a skillet with one tablespoon olive oil. Cook over medium-low heat until the garlic is slightly tender, about 3 minutes.
  • Place the cooked garlic and the remaining ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the ingredients are combined and to the texture of your preference.
  • Serve drizzled over pasta with steamed broccoli, sliced cherry tomatoes and black olives. It’ also makes a nice a topping for warm, toasted bread.


Note: Nutritional estimate is for the pesto only, not including the noodles.
I use Nooch It Vegan Parmesan in this recipe which has only 2g net carb per tablespoon.
You can substitute nutritional yeast flakes in place of vegan parmesan.
Nutrition Facts
Walnut Pesto
Amount Per Serving
Calories 174 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Sodium 14mg1%
Potassium 89mg3%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 210IU4%
Vitamin C 1.2mg1%
Calcium 15mg2%
Iron 0.6mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.


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8 Responses to Dairy-Free Vegan Walnut Pesto Recipe with Basil

  1. First of all, the bright light in these photos is making me so happy 🙂

    Second, I believe you can retrain taste buds! I believe they’re constantly changing. I used to hate raw onion, and now I can’t get enough of it 🙂

    • My husband was the same as you – used to hate raw onions. I don’t think he cared for them cooked either. Sometimes we’ll sit down to dinner and he’ll say, “I can’t believe I’m eating this stuff…and I like it!” Thanks for your comment. I’m so glad you liked my photos – it feels good to make others happy! 😉

  2. I grew up in a small town too. (1200 people). Fancy was walnuts in the brownies. I love to experiment with food now. My taste buds have definitely changed!

    • Julie – OMG, you’re cracking me up. It’s so true. If someone brought brownies with walnut they were highfalutin! Or that green bean casserole with fried onions on the top! I love that you’re trying new things too. Were like small town sisters!


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