Vegan pesto is creamy rich and vibrant. This simple pesto is made from fresh parsley and raw cashews. And it is so versatile that it can be used in many things beyond pastas. It has the yummy deep rich greens and zesty aromas of fresh herb.
This version of vegan pesto:
First of all, I added parsley as an experiment instead of traditional basil. And the result?! Its fresh aroma was out of this world! Mixed with extra virgin olive oil and garlic, I believe this recipe is as good as any pesto. Frankly, I couldn’t stop eating it straight out of my blender. In another words, I am still a food addict. Next time, I am planning to experiment with spinach and kale in addition to fresh parsley. Though this was scary at first, I found that vegan pesto is very forgiving.
Cashews instead of pine nuts:
I tried different nuts in my pestos. While almonds and walnuts are great substitutes for pine nuts, I prefer cashews. The smooth texture that cashews add to the pestos is unbeatable. Also, the high fat content in cashew (12g per oz!) makes it a perfect candidate for pesto. When vegan pesto is blended with cashews, it is equally creamy as any pesto with dairy that I have used. So it coats the pastas perfectly and it tastes divine.
More reasons to use cashews are:
- High in unsaturated healthy fats.
- Rich in minerals.
- May help with several health issues.
Vegan cashew pesto is for using in:
- Paninis – melted with cheese and any dressings!.
- In soups – it will thicken the soup e.g. in creamy tomato soups.
- Use them in sauces and in meat/vegetable stews as thickening agent or as flavor enhancer.
- Can be used instead of pizza sauce and also to drizzle over pizzas after it is baked.
- You can add pesto to your breads or pizza dough.
- Pesto is amazing in meat marinades or can be used with meat seasoning.
- Perfect in frittatas and delicious in mashed potatoes.
Finally, if you want to use this pesto in a simple, colorful vegan pasta dish then try this recipe.
Vegan Pesto With Cashews
Cashew pesto is creamy rich and is vibrant. This simple pesto is made from fresh parsley and raw cashews. It is so versatile, it can be used in many things beyond pasta. This deep green vegan pesto is zesty and it lifts up your dishes in a hurry with fresh flavors.
For the pesto:
- Half cup cashew.
- Half bunch curly leaf parsley or Italian parsley (2 heaping cups).
- 1/2 cup extra virgin oilve oil.
- 2 cloves garlic (medium).
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper.
- 1/2 tsp sea salt.
- 1 whole lemon's juice.
Instructions for making the pesto:
Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend!.
Choose a slower speed for a coarse pesto and stop occasionally to stir the mix from the bottom up to make sure even blending.
The consistency of this pesto is adjusted by adding some water i.e. if you want a saucy pesto.Omit lemon juice if you want no tang in your pesto. I like this pesto with juice of a half lemon if I am making a creamy dairy based pasta dish. (more recipes to come!)
I opted for a smooth pesto, which I like. Flavors are combined well this way and it coats the pasta better. This strictly is a personal preference.
After you make your pesto add an additional table spoon or two of EVOO if you want to store your pesto for later. This helps it from drying out and keeps it fresh. In my humble opinion, this makes the pesto very pretty as well.
- Any type of parsley can be used.
- Raw cashews are better than roasted cashews. But with other nuts like walnuts and almonds I find that roasting them before making pestos really add enhanced flavor to it.
- Lemon juice can be omitted from this recipe but I think adding 2 table spoons of lemon juice really balances out the flavors.
- Pestos made in a mortar and pestle are said to have much flavor. It takes much more effort and need to be made in small batches.
- High ratio of cashew in this version of vegan pesto replaces the need for cheese.