Spinach Cashew Pesto (Vegan)
Updated: Jan 30
Since I seem to enjoy spitting in the face of all that is holy in Italian cooking (exhibit A: My Low-Carb Risotto ), it seems only right I’d take the recipe for a classic Italian pesto and throw it in the fire. Warning: this recipe is not suitable for Italian grandmothers.
I won’t lie, this recipe came out of pure necessity. I just got back from an 11 mile run and needed pasta. STAT! When I opened my fridge however, you can only imagine my horror when I realized I was out of pesto. What was I going to do?! With delivery being too expensive and my legs refusing to move any more that day, both Ubereats and the grocery store were not options.
Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a bag of raw cashews and suddenly angels were singing the Hallelujah chorus. That sound also might have been my Italian ancestors screaming.
I rolled up my sleeves, grabbed a bag of spinach making eyes at me in the back of the fridge, and went to work.
After tossing everything in a blender, I was rewarded with the creamiest pesto sauce that I now use for everything. Add it to pasta, on top of pizza, or in sandwiches. One of my favorite ways to enjoy it is on boiled eggs as midday snack!
It's also vegan (again, sorry screaming Italians) and can be frozen for future use, so, unlike me, you’ll never be without pesto.
If you make this recipe or any others on my blog, tag me in a photo on Instagram @figisisters . I would love to see your recreation!
Spinach Cashew Pesto
Makes about 8-9 oz
1 - Lemon - Zested and Juiced
3-4 - Garlic Cloves
50 g - Spinach Leaves
30 g - Basil Leaves
56 g - Raw Cashews
45 ml - Olive Oil
10 g - Nutritional Yeast - Sub: Vegan parmesan
½ tsp - Salt - Plus more to taste
½ tsp - Black Pepper - Plus more to taste
¼ tsp - Garlic Powder - Optional
Optional Step*: Mince garlic. Roast in a pan over medium-low heat until fragrant and browned slightly. Set aside.
Add cashews, olive oil, and lemon juice to a high-speed blender or food processor. Pulse until cashews have broken up into a coarse meal.
Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth*.
Pour pesto into a jar and store in the fridge for up to 4 days*.
Add to pastas, salads, pizzas, and sandwiches.
- Roasting the garlic prior to blending is not necessary, but it does make the garlic flavor less sharp
- If mixture becomes too thick while blending, gradually add 1-2 more tbsp of olive oil until desired consistency is reached.
- To freeze pesto for future use, portion pesto out in an ice cube tray. Defrost cubes as needed in the fridge overnight.
Need something to use up all the pesto you just made? Meal-prep some Vegan Pesto Rice Bowls for lunch.