Easy Vegan Pesto with Kale / Nut-free

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This Easy Vegan Kale Pesto has been my go-to for quite some time. In addition to being completely dairy-free and nut-free, it is very adaptable to your particular dietary needs.

It is so quick to make and very versatile. You can use it on pasta, sandwiches, pizza, vegan omelettes, as a dip for fresh vegetables, or spread on crackers or baguette slices.

Pesto is perfect on pasta

See how I make it in this video:

I recently featured this delicious and easy vegan pesto in a video with 2 of my 3 Best Vegan Sandwiches for Work or School. These are my favorite sandwiches that I take to work with me every day. Check it out!

Love sandwiches? My Vegan Banh Mi or Portabello Sandwiches are great ones to try!

Sneak in those greens!

I used a mixture of kale and basil for this recipe but you can substitute other greens like spinach or fresh chard. You can also skip the greens and just do all basil – just go with what you have on hand!

I find that with kids, it’s a great way to sneak in some nutritious greens! They’ll never know!

For another great recipe using basil, check out my Eggplant Lasagna. It’s got a delicious sauce featuring basil, eggplant, and garlic! Or, if you’re trying to get more kale in your diet, try this awesome kale salad.

No nuts or go nuts!

I used sunflower seeds in this easy vegan pesto but I have tried it with pine nuts, walnuts, almonds….the list goes on. If you can’t eat nuts, sunflower seeds are a great substitute, but if it’s not a problem, go nuts!

Get cheesy!

I also used one of my new favorite obsessions in my vegan pesto – Follow Your Heart’s vegan Parmesan shreds. It is so delicious and adds a wonderful flavor!

But, if you can’t find this or any other brand of vegan Parmesan cheese, go ahead and substitute 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast. It will give it a nice cheesy flavor as well as a little protein and B vitamins!

Looking for more recipes using nutritional yeast? Try my Tofu Quiche with Mushrooms and Greens.


I like to add some EVOO (Extra virgin olive oil) to make it nice and creamy and also add some fresh flavor and healthy fats. But, if you are on an oil-free diet, feel free to skip it. Just add a little water or vegetable broth to achieve a creamy consistency.

Olive oil makes pesto creamy and delicious

I hope you love this pesto recipe as much as I do. I make it pretty much weekly because it is so easy to make and it goes with so many things!

Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know what you think. I will post more recipes that use this delicious and easy vegan pesto in the near future. Enjoy!

This post does contain an affiliate link. This simply means that if you click the link and make a purchase, I will earn a very small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for helping support the promotion of tasty vegan food!

Easy Vegan Pesto

This super easy and delicious Vegan Pesto will become a staple in your household!

Course Appetizer, Dinner, lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian, vegan
Prep Time 5 minutes


  • 2 cups Kale or other greens (spinach, chard, arugula)
  • 2 cups Fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup Sunflower seeds or other (pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, etc…)
  • 1/4 cup Vegan parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Lemon juice
  • 2-4 cloves Garlic
  • 1-4 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil optional
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Red chili flakes optional


  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until creamy (up to 5 minutes).

    You may need to scrape down the sides part way through.

    If you don't want to use olive oil, you may use water or vegetable broth to help make a creamy consistency.

    Store any leftovers in an airtight container for about a week. To keep it fresher, you may add a little olive oil to the top to create a seal (don't mix it in until ready to use).

    You can also put the pesto in ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer. Use cubes as needed.

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