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The Best Creamy Basil Pesto Pasta

This vegan scrumptious pesto pasta is quick and easy, sure to become a weeknight favourite. You won't miss the dairy!
Jul 30, 2023 | Joy McCarthy

Love the fragrant aroma and taste of basil? Me too! Love creamy pasta? Me too! You're in the right place. This Creamy Basil Pesto Pasta is quick and easy to whip up. And just like the title suggested, it is the best vegan one I've tried IMO. You'll have a delicious and fresh dinner in under 15 minutes tops - whoop!

bowl of creamy basil pesto pasta

Basil is the star of this dish, even though the crunch of the snap peas are simply divine! If you're a basil lover like me than you'll be happy to know that the amazing scent and distinct flavour comes from numerous beneficial plant compounds (phytonutrients) that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

basil from the garden

If you have fresh basil taking over your garden than this pasta is calling your name - what are you waiting for? It is easy to whip up because the ingredients are uncomplicated.

ingredients for basil pesto pasta

Cashews are what provide the creaminess. However, make sure you to use raw cashews. Roasted cashews don't provide the same creaminess as raw. You will need a food processor to make this pesto nice and creamy. Process the cashews first because that will help really grind them up and then add your remaining ingredients.

Food processor basil pesto

See how creamy it is? It's making my mouth water just looking at these photos all over again!

vegan basil pesto

This recipe is...

  • Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan (unless you top it with pecorino cheese like I do)
  • Kid-friendly and picky-eater approved
  • Rich in gut-loving fibre and phytonutrients like antioxidants + anti-inflammatory compounds that prevent cancer and chronic disease
  • It smells incredible and tastes like summer
  • Easy to whip up, dinner is done in 15 minutes

vegan basil pesto pastaIf you are having this as your main, it serves 2 very generously. If it's a side dish to tempeh, fish or chicken than it serves 4.

Creamy Basil Vegan Pesto Pasta

Mains & Sides
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  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 227g (8oz) pasta*
  • 2 cups snap peas
  1. Place cashews into a food processor and blend until fine. Add basil, garlic, sea salt, lemon juice and olive oil and blend until creamy.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Add snap peas to boiling water for a minute just before draining the pasta to warm them through (if you want).
  3. Drain pasta + snap peas. Toss with creamy pesto and serve immediately or refrigerate and serve chilled. Top with nutritional yeast or your favourite cheese (I love pecorino!).


Serves 2 generously or 4 as a side dish.
*Chickpea pasta (gluten-free made from lentils and chickpeas)

Here are some other dishes I think you'll love:

I can't wait for you to dig in and let me know what you think!

Joy xo

KK   •   July 31, 2023

What can I use instead of cashews? (Unfortunately, I am sensitive to them) Thanks!!!

Joy McCarthy   •   August 1, 2023

Kate   •   August 10, 2023

Does cashew pesto freeze well?

Joy McCarthy   •   August 14, 2023

Melissa   •   November 2, 2023

What about a nut free option that is still creamy?

Joy McCarthy   •   November 5, 2023

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