Ultimate Vegan Pesto

This is a great pesto recipe which is vegan as well as nut free, so perfect for those with allergies. Supermarket free-from pestos often use cashew nuts, but here I’m using toasted sunflower seeds for a nutty flavour and nutritional yeast for that savoury cheesy vibe. So, it’s a bit different, but still has all the flavour of a classic pesto. Nutritional yeast is a weird one. I think it bares a very close resemblance to cheese and onion crisps, but I Iove that! If you haven’t got any simply leave it out, however you won’t achieve the same cheesy flavour. It is a great ingredient to have in the cupboard though, its relatively cheap, lasts forever and you can get it from most health food shops. The combination of sweet basil, nutty seeds, zesty lemon juice and roasted garlic with the cheesy yeast flakes, makes this an all-round great tasting pesto, which you can use in so many dishes! It is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, soya-free and refined sugar-free!


Makes 1 small jar

50g Fresh basil leaves
45g Sunflower seeds
80ml Olive oil
3 Garlic cloves
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tbsp Nutritional yeast
Salt & pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 108 C fan.
  2. Begin by toasting the sunflower seeds in a pan over a medium heat. You don’t need any oil. Stir them occasionally as they heat, making sure they don’t burn. You want them to be an even golden-brown colour. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
  3. While they cool, peel the garlic cloves and roast in the oven for 10 minutes.
  4. When the seeds and garlic have cooled, add to a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
  5. Add a pinch of salt and some pepper and store in a glass jar in the fridge.

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