Lemon basil pesto in a small glass jar with spoon

Lemon Basil Pesto (with a dairy free vegan option)

Zesty lemon basil pesto is a handy healthy condiment for salads, pasta, pizza, dip platters and just about anything, really! Easy to make and full of flavour, you can make this dairy free and vegan. It's also gluten free and grain free.

Course Salads and Sides
Categories dairy free, freezer friendly, vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 small jar, about 300mL


  • 80 grams fresh basil (1 large bunch)
  • 25 grams fresh flat parsley (about 1/4 large bunch)
  • 60 grams pine nuts (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes for dairy-free option*
  • 30 grams parmesan cheese traditional option*


  1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Spread the pine nuts out over a small baking tray and toast them in the oven for about 5 minutes or until they just start browning. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

  2. Give the herbs a quick wash, then remove the tough middle stems from the basil and chop the thick stems off the base of the parsley.

  3. Place the herbs into a food processor together with the juice of the lemon, olive oil and the garlic. Pulse around until it starts to form a smooth paste.

  4. Add in the pine nuts and pulse again until the nuts are broken up as much as you desire. If you are going to add the parmesan or the nutritional yeast, add it in now while you're pulsing in the nuts. 

  5. Taste test and season with a little salt. Once you're happy with the flavour, scoop all of the pesto into a clean jar. Store in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

*both parmesan and nutritional yeast are optional and the pesto works perfectly well without them; if you don’t want to use either of these items it will still be really delicious!

*if you're not using the pesto right away, pour a little extra olive oil over the top to help it keep for longer in the fridge. It will last about 1-2 weeks in the fridge - I usually divide the batch it two and freeze half in a little container or in ice cube trays.