vegan pesto

Vegan Wild Garlic Pesto

vegan wild garlic pesto recipe

It’s not too late to get out into the woods and pick some of your own wild garlic! In the UK and much of Europe, it grows prolifically in shaded, damp woodland areas and riverbanks from March, when the leaves are young and tender. Later in the spring and early summer the leaves grow larger and can become a little stringy, so just look for patches where the smaller, tender young leaves are growing.

This vegan wild garlic pesto is so deliciously fragrant, vibrant, and flavoursome. Just add a big dollop of it to cooked pasta and stir through some other nice greens or wilted spinach for a quick and delicious dinner. There’s nothing more satisfying than cooking and eating food that you’ve foraged yourself, especially when it tastes this good, I promise!

Wild garlic is a great place to start if you’re new to foraging, but always make sure you can 100% positively identify anything before you eat it. Here’s a great round up of wild garlic foraging tips by Countryfile to get you started.

If you don’t have access to wild garlic or you’ve left it a bit late in the year, you can still make delicious vegan pesto by substituting the wild garlic for more fresh basil, parsley, spinach, rocket )arugula) or cress. Just add a clove of garlic to replace that lovely garlicky hit that any good pesto needs.

If you like foraging, you’ll also love this vegan nettle dhal recipe with instructions on how to pick your own nettles!

vegan wild garlic pesto recipe pasta

Vegan wild garlic pesto recipe

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 80g pinenuts

  • 80g hazelnuts

  • 120ml olive oil

  • 80g wild garlic (thoroughly washed)

  • 80g fresh basil

  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar

  • 1 tsp maple syrup

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Start by preparing your nuts (this step is optional but adds a beautiful depth of flavour to your pesto).

Roast the hazelnuts in your oven at 180C (360F) for 8-10 minutes until the skins begin to darken. You can then remove most of the skins by rubbing the roasted hazelnuts between a folded clean tea towel, this step ensures your pesto stays a vibrant green colour without the dark hazelnut skins. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan, tossing them frequently for a few minutes until they are golden and fragrant.

Now blitz the hazelnuts and pine nuts in a food processor until they are coarsely ground. Then add all the other pesto ingredients to the processor, and whizz everything up, until you reach the desired consistency.

Taste a bit of the pesto and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, lemon, or maple syrup, depending on how the flavours are balancing.

Stir a big dollop of the pesto through some cooked pasta, and enjoy!

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Nutrition (per serving):

  • Protein: 5.5g (Women: 11.0% / Men: 10.0%)

  • Iron: 2.9mg (Women: 19.6% / Men: 33.3%)

  • Calories: 355 (Women: 17.8% / Men: 14.2%)

  • Total Fats: 36.8g (Women: 40.9% / Men: 30.7%)

  • Saturated Fat: 3.9g (Women: 19.5% / Men: 13.0%)

  • Salt: 0.2g (Women: 3.3% / Men: 3.3%)

  • Fibre: 3.3g (Women: 11.0% / Men: 11.0%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

vegan wild garlic pesto recipe plant based

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Linguine With Vegan Parmesan

Vegan sun-dried tomato pesto linguine with vegan parmesan cheese

Sometimes you just need pasta in your life. And this is one of the best, most flavourful pastas I've had. It's also one of those great dishes that looks and sounds pretty impressive, but only takes 20 minutes to put together and so makes the perfect fall-back option if you're cooking for friends but find yourself tight for time. The key to this recipe is top quality sun-dried tomatoes - it's the star of the show here so splash out on some really top quality ones and this dish will go from good to freaking awesome. 

Vegan Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Linguine with Vegan Parmesan

Ingredients (makes 4 portions)

  • 1 cup top quality sundried tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves (30g)

  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 3 Tbsp vegan parmesan cheese (see below)

  • 3 Tbsp tomato puree

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 100g dried pasta per person

  • 50g cavolo nero or kale per person, chopped

For the vegan parmesan (makes 1 cup):

  • 3/4 cup cashews

  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder / garlic granules

Method:

First of all make the parmesan. Literally all you do is tip the ingredients into a food processor or chopping attachment of a stick blender (not a high speed blender like a Nutribullet as they're too powerful). Blitz for a minute or so until the consistency is like sand or, well, grated parmesan! This will make a cup so you'll have lots to store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks and also goes great on vegan risotto or the ultimate vegan bolognese

Now while making the pesto, cook your pasta as per packet instructions, adding the cavolo nero to the pasta for the last 5 minutes of cooking. To make the pesto, squeeze the sun-dried tomatoes to drain any excess oil. Add to the same food processor (no need to wash it after making the parmesan) and also chuck in the olive oil, basil, garlic, vegan parmesan, and tomato puree. Blitz this until it reaches a pesto-like consistency, although a few chunks of the sun-dried tomatoes left in there is nice in my opinion as it adds more texture. 

Once cooked al dente, drain the pasta and cavolo nero, return to the pan you cooked it in, and stir in the pesto. If you reserve some of the pasta water, you can add a little back now if you like the pesto a bit thinner. Serve into warm bowls and top with some extra vegan parmesan, torn basil leaves, and fresh ground black pepper. 

easy vegan sun-dried sun dried tomato pesto recipe

Nutrition (per serving with 100g - uncooked weight - pasta):

  • Protein: 15.6g (Women: 31.2% / Men: 28.4%)

  • Iron: 4.4mg (Women: 29.7% / Men: 50.6%)

  • Calories: 573 (Women: 28.7% / Men: 22.9%)

  • Sugars: 8.2g (Women: 9.1% / Men: 6.8%)

  • Total Fats: 22.4g (Women: 32.0% / Men: 23.6%)

  • Saturated Fats: 3.1g (Women: 15.5% / Men: 10.3%)

  • Salt: 0.6g (Women: 10.0% / Men: 10.0%)

  • Fibre: 8.1g (Women: 27.0% / Men: 27.0%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

Fresh Vegan Basil Pesto

Fresh vegan basil pesto recipe

You really don’t need Parmesan to make seriously tasty pesto! Flavoursome extra virgin olive oil, handfuls of fresh basil, nutty toasted pine nuts, and lots of powerful garlic make one of the best flavour combinations on earth. Tossed through some pasta with some simple veg like asparagus and cherry tomatoes, and you’re on to a winner every time. Such a simple recipe that keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks or even freezes well for a mega-quick slap up dinner any day of the week.

Fresh Vegan Basil Pesto

Ingredients (makes 4 servings):

  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

  • 2 cups fresh basil (tightly packed)

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

  • Good pinch salt and pepper

Method:

Ready for this? It’s pretty tricky so be prepared… Put all ingredients in a food processor, and blitz. That's it. Just whizz up until it's the consistency you like - I find it best when mixed until nearly smooth but still with some texture. 

Nutrition (per serving of pesto):

  • Protein: 6.1g (Women: 12.2% / Men: 11.1%)

  • Iron: 1.8mg (Women: 12.2% / Men: 20.7%)

  • Calories: 269 (Women: 13.5% / Men: 10.8%)

  • Sugars: 1.5g (Women: 1.7% / Men: 1.3%)

  • Total Fats: 26.1g (Women: 37.3% / Men: 27.5%)

  • Saturated Fat: 3.1g (Women: 15.5% / Men: 10.3%)

  • Salt: 0.3g (Women: 5.0% / Men: 5.0%)

  • Fibre: 2.6g (Women: 8.7% / Men: 8.7%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.