I love pesto! Since I have had to eat dairy-free, I started to make my own pesto without cheese. I had a favorite pesto recipe I used to make, but I spent more than I wanted to make it. I would go to the store to buy fresh organic basil and pine nuts. If you’ve ever priced pine nuts at the store, you may find yourself walking away upon seeing the price tag.
I was willing to pay for the pricey ingredients because my pesto tasted absolutely amazing. Sadly, I noticed I didn’t feel very good after eating even my dairy-free pesto. I thought I was sensitive to garlic so I started to leave the garlic out of the recipe. A couple of months ago, I had my blood tested for food intolerances and found out that I can eat garlic. So I whipped up a batch of my homemade pesto and still felt sick. I realized that basil was making me sick.
It’s not very common to have a food intolerance to basil and I have more food intolerances than the average person. I was pretty sad at the thought of losing out on eating pesto but accepted it like I do when I decide that being healthy to raise my children means more to me than eating foods that make me sick.
Not too long after that, I was at a family gathering and my mom was making homemade pesto. She had a Costco size container of organic spinach so she decided to use spinach instead of basil in her recipe. I was so excited at this epiphany that I could substitute spinach for basil. And spinach is so much cheaper than fresh basil too!
I decided to make pesto with ingredients that I could eat and came up with Vegan Pesto with Spinach and Cashews.
This recipe uses spinach, cashews, avocado oil, garlic, and salt. Some people are sensitive to garlic, so if you are, just leave it out of the recipe.
I use cashews for this recipe, but other nuts will work fine too. Some people are sensitive to certain nuts like me so choose a nut that agrees with you. I have a food intolerance to almonds and walnuts, but those would work really well in this recipe if you prefer the taste of them.
Also, I use to use nutritional yeast as a substitute for the taste of cheese. I found out that I have a food intolerance to yeast that was contributing to my intestinal yeast overgrowth (Candida). Nutritional yeast does make pesto tastier if you can tolerate it.
This vegan cashew pesto is so easy to make and you can whip up a batch in just minutes! It works great as a sauce or a dip. If you want it more as a sauce or dressing, just as add more avocado oil until it reaches your desired consistency. I like to use this pesto over fish, Miracle rice or noodles, and vegetables. Also, I have used it as a dip for raw vegetables and a substitute for mayonnaise to add to tuna salad.
I decided to share this recipe with you when a friend gave her stamp of approval after eating some. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have!
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 cup cashews
- 2/3 cup avocado oil
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Optional: nutritional yeast to taste
- Add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender. Blend for a minute or until all the ingredients are evenly blended to form a smooth pesto.
- If you want to make a thinner sauce or dressing, just add a little avocado oil at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
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Thanks for posting this great recipe, Stephanie! I am definitely going to try it. I’m also enjoying reading all about your blogging adventure. Very inspiring! Who knows, maybe I will join you one day 😉
Aroma Mama says
Thank you, Teresa! That’s great!
Becki Svare says
This looks delicious! I’m curious though ~ why spinach versus basil?
Aroma Mama says
It can be hard to find fresh organic basil at the store and even then, it is more expensive than organic spinach. My personal reason is because I have a food intolerance to basil and I have to taste it to make sure it’s good. 🙂
Finally getting around to printing this one off! Can’t wait to try this out! Thanks so much Stephanie! <3
Aroma Mama says
Wonderful! Thank you, Tanya!
Thanks for sharing! This is such a creative spin on pesto! I’m a huge arugula fan and now you’ve got me wondering if I should experiment….
Aroma Mama says
Hi, Amanda! Definitely, go for it! I’ve learned to substitute ingredients in traditional recipes as a result of all my food intolerances. Thanks for visiting and have a great day!
This recipe is great, just a bit too garlicy to me so I may try adding a bit less garlic next time! But overall, I loved it!