My Dairy-Free Pesto Recipe is FINALLY being shared with the public! After hundreds of requests, I can’t keep it a secret any longer! This pesto is rich, flavorful, creamy, and super versatile.

dairy free pesto in a small bowl

I make this pesto pretty much any chance I get. I love making it for friends and watching the looks on their faces when they learn it’s completely dairy-free. The first reaction is always, “WOW, this is the best pesto I’ve ever had!”, followed by, “Can I get the recipe?” haha.

I recently shared the pesto on Tiktok when I used it as a spread for my Cottage Cheese Wrap BLT. Hundreds of people in the comment expressed love for the wrap, but most importantly wanted to have the pesto recipe. So, here it is my friend: My coveted Homemade Pesto Recipe! <3

ingredients to make homemade dairy free pesto in a blender

Ingredients You’ll Need To Make This Homemade Pesto

  • Basil + Arugula: Arugula is the key to elevating your pesto. It has a slightly peppery flavor that enhances the taste of the pesto. I think this is the most essential addition to making the best pesto.
  • Pine Nuts: You’ll need pine nuts to make the pesto, but try to reserve a tablespoon or so. Once your pesto is made, you can toast the reserved pine nuts and use them as garnish.
  • Lemon Juice + Lemon Zest: The bright lemon flavor is what takes pesto from bland to phenomenal. I like to use lots of lemon, but I recommend you start with 1-2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice, taste, and add more as desired. Don’t forget to zest the lemon before juicing it.
  • Olive Oil: Remember olive oil is one of the key ingredients for your pesto, so make sure to use a high-quality one.
  • Cashews: I use cashews instead of cheese to keep this pesto dairy-free, but still give it a creaminess and depth of flavor. You can use raw or roasted cashews. Also, if you want to use parmesan cheese, please do so! You’ll need about 1/3 of a cup. You can use parm + cashews if you like.
  • Garlic Cloves, Salt, Pepper: With all the vibrant ingredients used you don’t need much to season the pesto. Just a few garlic cloves (the more the better, IMO), salt, and pepper.

The best part about this pesto recipe is that it is gluten and dairy-free, so that just about anyone can enjoy it! Lots of store-bought pesto contain fillers and preservatives, and that’s something I actively try to avoid. That’s why I make most of my sauces from scratch like my zucchini pasta sauce, marinara sauce, or hidden veggie pasta sauce!

Pesto Pasta with sun dried tomatoes
Pesto Pasta With Sundried Tomatoes

How To Make Pesto

Making pesto is SO EASY! Add everything to a food processor or blender and combine. For a chunkier pesto, simply pulse the ingredients until broken down to your desired texture. For a creamier pesto, blend on high speed. You can also drizzle in more olive oil to make the pesto creamier.

Pesto Pasta with zucchini noodles
Pesto Pasta with Zucchini Noodles

Ways To Use Homemade Pesto

  • Pizza Base: This by far is one of my favorite ways to enjoy pesto. Instead of marinara sauce use your homemade pesto, like this Pesto Prosciutto Flatbread or Gluten-Free Pesto Pizza!
  • Sandwich Spread: Nothing takes a sandwich to the next level quite like pesto does. I add it to your burgers, wraps, and sandwiches for an instant upgrade.
  • On Top Of Fish: Yes, that’s right. I love making pesto-crusted sea bass and salmon. It literally takes a plain fish dish and makes it restaurant quality!! Pesto-crusted fish is actually one of my go-to dishes when I am hosting — it always impresses my guests.
  • Pasta: Of course! Add your favorite cooked noodles and have pesto pasta! I like making homemade gnocchi and adding this dairy-free pesto.
dairy free pesto in a small bowl

Dairy-Free Pesto

This homemade pesto recipe is so good, you don't even miss the dairy! It's rich, flavorful, creamy, and super versatile! (vegan + gf!)
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Course: Sauce or Marinade
Cuisine: American, French, Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 100kcal
Author: Capri Lilly


  • Food Processor or Blender


  • 1.5 cup Fresh Basil Leaves packed
  • 1 cup Arugula packed
  • 1/3 cup Pine Nuts
  • 1/4 cup Cashews (or 1/3 cup parmesan cheese)
  • 1 Lemon, zested and juices about 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more if desired
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground pepper


  • Combine all the ingredients into the blender or food processor. Blend until ingredients are finely chopped.
  • Pulse a few times for a chunkier pesto. OR
    Blend longer for a creamier texture. If the consistency is too thick, add 1-2 tbsp olive oil and blend.


  • You can sub chopped walnuts for pine nuts to get an even more dynamic flavor
  • This recipe makes approx 2 cups of Pesto. You can use 1 cup for pasta, a crust for your fish, or as a chicken marindade. Save the remainder to snack with or for toppings for your favorite salad. This pesto is good with fresh cut veggies, plantain chips, pita bread, or even tortilla chips. And perfect on salads and veggie/grain bowls!


Serving: 1g | Calories: 100kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.7g | Protein: 3.1g | Fat: 5.6g | Saturated Fat: 0.7g | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 212mg | Fiber: 1.3g | Sugar: 0.9g | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 1mg

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