How to make the most delicious healthy Vegan Spinach Pesto that is dairy-free, oil-free, gluten-free and made with wholesome ingredients like fresh spinach, peas, roasted pecans and Italian seasoning for extra flavor! Goes great as a side dip for veggies or mixed into pasta or as a pizza base!
VEGAN SPINACH PESTO
I love making homemade healthy vegan pesto. Especially, showing how delicious oil-free pesto can be. Classic pesto recipes are full of oil and dairy (parmesan cheese) and not exactly plant-based.
Most store-bought pesto is full of fat, sodium and preservatives. Traditional pesto is made with basil, garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese. While delicious, I’ve never liked how excessively oily it is. And this version has no basil!
So, this is definitely much different, but I can promise you that this vegan spinach pesto with peas will knock your taste buds off! It’s only 7 ingredients. It is savory, has a rich umami flavor, but isn’t bitter, thanks to some peas to add a touch of sweetness. I promise you the flavor is all very well balanced, not to mention, this spinach pea pesto healthy and much lower in fat than traditional, even vegan, pesto recipes.
- Peas: Adding sweet green peas to spinach helps give flavor and a touch of sweetness to this oil-free vegan pesto. It is different, but absolutely delicious.
- Pecans: Instead of pine nuts, like in traditional pesto, I used pecans here for a lovely robust, deep buttery flavor. It goes so well with the sweetness of the peas.
- Lemon juice
- Nutritional yeast: This replaces that cheesy flavor that parmesan typically provides in traditional pesto.
- Italian seasoning: I use my homemade blend.
- Fresh spinach: We are using spinach instead of basil here, for a twist. It is delicious, trust me!
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN SPINACH PESTO
Step 1: Toast the pecans first. This gives a much deeper flavor to the pesto.
Step 2: Add all of the ingredients to a food processor or high-powered blender, starting with adding the water first. Note, it tends to be more challenging to blend in a blender since there’s little room and liquid. Scrape the sides many times as needed in the beginning. Blend until completely smooth.
WAYS TO SERVE THIS SPINACH PESTO
- Pasta. This oil-free vegan spinach pea pesto is so delicious mixed in with pasta. Top with my lemon vegan parmesan cheese and you have yourself a hearty, filling and healthy plant-based dinner!
- Pizza: As you can see here, I made the most epic and delicious vegan pesto pizza. Let me tell you, this turned out to be one of the most delicious restaurant-worthy recipe creations I’ve made. Both my daughter and I LOVED IT. It is served on my homemade vegan flatbread, which is next-level!
- Dip: This is excellent served just with chips or even veggies. While it is good cold, I think it tastes much more alive and rich in flavor, warmed up!
MORE VEGAN PESTO RECIPES
Vegan Spinach Pesto (Oil-free)
- 1/4 cup (35g) pecans
- 6 tablespoons (90g) water
- 1 cup (140g) cooked peas (I used frozen)
- 2-3 large cloves of garlic, to taste, since sizes can vary so much
- 2 tablespoons (30g) fresh lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons (14g) of nutritional yeast (I use and recommend the Sari brand-it's unfortified and has better flavor)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 very firmly packed cups (100g) fresh spinach, weigh for accuracy
- I use this scale.
- Lightly toast the pecans in a small pan over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring often. Watch closely so they don't burn! Once they start smelling fragrant and looking toasty, they are done. You have to be very careful or they can go from fragrant to burnt, quickly.
- Add the frozen peas (straight from the bag) to the microwave or stove to warm up. I did 1 minute in the microwave. You don't want to add them frozen or it will be difficult to process.
- Add all of the ingredients, except the spinach, starting with the water first, into a food processor. I tested with both a wide blender and a food processor and found the food processor works much better because of the space being wider.
- Pulse until thick and creamy, scraping the sides down often many times in the beginning, as needed, getting it roughly smooth.
- Add the spinach and process until very smooth and creamy, as pictured. I like mine really smooth. Taste and add any additional salt/spices, if desired. Should be smooth, delicious, tart, savory and a touch of sweetness from the peas!
- Serve with homemade tortilla chips, veggies, over pasta or as a base for pizza to make a pesto pizza!
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