Dairy Free Pesto (Whole30, Low Carb)

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This 5 minute Dairy Free Pesto Recipe is Whole30, Low Carb, and Vegan, and it will quickly become your favorite healthy condiment! This pesto recipe comes together in just a few minutes with wholesome, healthy ingredients like fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, and cashews and without pine nuts. The secret ingredient? Nutritional yeast!

Dairy Free + Whole30 Basil Pesto

Need a boost of flavor in your routine? This is the recipe you’ve been looking for! This Basil Pesto is packed full of delicious ingredients AND it’s gluten free, dairy free, vegan, Paleo, Keto, Low Carb, and of course, Whole30.

A close up of a spoon with the finished Vegan and dairy free pesto.

Not only does it come together in like 2 seconds flat (okay maybe more like 5 minutes), but it’s budget friendly AND freezer friendly. This is the recipe I follow at the end of summer when my garden is basically exploding with basil. I can’t let it go to waste, so I make a ton of pesto and freeze it!

Dairy Free Pesto Ingredients

Who would’ve thought such simple ingredients would make the absolute BEST CONDIMENT of all time? Yup, this Whole30, Dairy Free Pesto is so good, you’ll make time and time again. What you need:

The pesto ingredients laid out in glass dishes and labeled on a marble board: Basil, cashews (because this recipe is made without pine nuts), salt and pepper, oil, garlic, and nutritional yeast.
  • Fresh Basil: You can use any kind of fresh basil you can find, but my favorite varieties are Italian and Sweet Basil. They’re fairly common at most grocery stores. I’ve also used purple basil that I grew in my garden. The flavor was wonderful, but the color ended up a little brown, which was fine by me!
  • Garlic (Raw or Blanched): This is totally up to your taste preferences. If you use raw garlic, the pesto will have more of a bite to it, and the garlic flavor will be more pronounced. If you’re like me and you love strong garlic, use raw. Using blanched garlic will give your pesto more of a mild garlic flavor, which is generally a better bet if you like garlic but don’t want the flavor to be too strong, if you get heartburn, or if you’re serving this to kids. To blanche garlic, submerge the peeled garlic cloves in boiling water for about one minute. Remove and set in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
  • Olive Oil: Extra Virgin Olive Oil works best in Pesto.
  • Cashews: I make my pesto recipe without the traditional pine nuts, because #budget. Choose raw and unsalted cashews as a delicious and more budget-friendly option. *Alternately, if you’re looking for a nut free pesto recipe, swap raw, unsalted sunflower seeds.
  • Nutritional Yeast: Here’s how you make fabulous, flavorful pesto without cheese. Nutritional yeast has a wonderful cheesey flavor that’s so important here to making delicious pesto that’s Whole30, Low Carb, and Vegan. Pick it up at your local grocer or on Amazon.
  • Salt and pepper to taste: I end up using about 1/2 tsp of each, but I always recommend starting with less and adding more at the end. It’s one thousand percent easier to add more than it is to take it away.
A collage of process photos showing step by step adding the ingredeitnst to the blender

How to Make Pesto

Surprisingly, Basil pesto is one of the easiest recipes to make. You just need to have a food processor or blender (or a mortar and pestle, if you really want to put some work in).

First, you need to pulse all the ingredients besides oil, so the cashews and basil are broken down. This allows the flavor of the basil to be more fully released and incorporated into the sauce.

Then, just slowly add in the oil as you blend the mixture until it’s the desired consistency. You don’t want a basil smoothie, so don’t overblend. Just keep an eye on it and stop blending when the mixture is smooth but not creamy. Leave a little texture, trust me.

Recipe FAQ:

What can I use Pesto for?

Pesto is great with veggies, eggs, wraps, pizzas, and sandwiches, but it’s also delicious served with proteins like shrimp and chicken.

Here are a few recipe suggestions for using your dairy free pesto:

How long does it keep?

Cover and refrigerate the pesto for up to 5 days. Alternately, you can add it to ice cube trays and freeze into cubes. Once they’re frozen pop them out and add them to an air tight bag or container and freeze.

Pin it for later:

A collage of photos showing the ingredients and a close up of the finished recipe with the words "Whole30, Dairy Free, Vegan Basil Pesto" for Pinterest.

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A glass dish with dairy free, Whole30 pesto inside surrounded by basil and garlic.
5 from 3 votes

Dairy Free Pesto (Whole30, Low Carb, Vegan)

Simple and delicious basil pesto, the perfect healthy condiment!

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Condiments
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 148 kcal


Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup cashews raw and unsalted
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  1. Add the garlic, nutritional yeast, basil, salt and pepper and cashews to a food process or blender. Pulse a few times to break everything down a bit.

  2. Turn the food processor or blender to a slow blend or low speed. Open the top and drizzle in the rest of the olive oil slowly. Blend until smooth, but stop before it gets creamy (I like when there's still a little texture in the pesto from the cashews).

  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Cover and refrigerate the pesto for up to 5 days. Alternately, you can add it to ice cube trays and freeze into cubes. Pop them out and add to an air tight bag or container and freeze.


Nutrition Facts
Dairy Free Pesto (Whole30, Low Carb, Vegan)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 148 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Sodium 50mg2%
Potassium 120mg3%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 211IU4%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 12mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.