Vegan Walnut Pesto

This vegan walnut pesto is delicious on pasta, pizza, or used as a spread on sandwiches. It’s also great drizzled on roasted vegetables or used as a dip.

Main Ingredients

Pesto is traditionally made with fresh basil, which is always delicious, but this recipe calls for parsley instead of the usual basil. Parsley gives this sauce a refreshing, springlike flavour and it’s perfect when you’re craving something a bit out of the ordinary. If you prefer a more traditional pesto flavour, go ahead and swap the parsley for fresh basil instead (or use a combination of both herbs). 

Walnuts are the star of this recipe. The walnuts add a slightly bitter, tannic flavour that goes perfectly with the fresh parsley, garlic, and lemon in this pesto sauce. If you don’t have any walnuts you can substitute pine nuts or pecans instead. Or if you need to avoid nuts altogether, try this nut free pesto recipe instead.

This recipe calls for extra virgin olive oil. The olive adds richness to the sauce as well as liquid necessary to ensure everything blends up nicely in the food processor or blender. You can substitute avocado oil or any other oil you prefer.

If you’re on an oil free diet you can substitute water and half an avocado instead of the olive oil in this recipe. Then you’ve got a delicious oil free pesto sauce that’s delicious on pasta, pizza, or anywhere else you’d use pesto.


This vegan walnut pesto is quick and easy to make. Simply add the fresh parsley, garlic, walnuts, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. That’s all there is to it.

Alternatively you could finely chop all the ingredients and then use a large mortar and pestle to make the sauce. Authentic pesto is often made in a mortar and pestle, but I prefer the ease of just tossing everything in the food processor. 

If you’re serving this pesto on pasta, be sure to toss the pasta with the pesto while the pasta is still hot. The heat from the pasta will cook the garlic in this sauce slightly which takes the edge off the raw garlic flavour. 

Store any leftover pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.

More Gluten Free Vegan Recipes

This creamy baked polenta is delicious with marinara sauce and fresh basil. Or use it as a base for vegan stews or sauces.

Or try these tasty plant-based meatballs. They’re hearty, filling, and so flavourful.

Close up of a white bowl filled with pasta smothered in pesto sauce.
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5 from 1 vote

Vegan Walnut Pesto

This easy vegan pesto is rich, satisfying, and so easy to make.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword gluten free, plant based, spinach, vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 174kcal


  • Blender or food processor


  • 2 cups fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • Add the fresh parsley, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, garlic cloves, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a blender or food processor.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Toss with pasta, use as a pizza sauce, or however you like! Or store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Makes approximately 8 servings of vegan walnut pesto.


  • Store any leftover pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.


Serving: 2Tablespoons | Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 154mg | Potassium: 115mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1264IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg