Vegan Paleo Pesto

Amanda Filipowicz, CNP, BES
vegan pesto

When the basil on our balcony has finally grown into a small bush, it is a clear sign that it is time to make a lot of pesto. Traditionally made with pine nuts, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano, garlic and salt this one is a little different but still very easy. 

We switch out the pine nuts and the Parmigiano Reggiano for some lightly toasted cashews. The pesto is creamy, slightly cheesy in taste and all over extra delicious. Perfect for those of you (like me) who should stay away from the cheese, though it is so hard because it’s so delicious.  Perfect to use in pasta, on a pizza, in a wrap or as a dip for raw veggies. 

close up of vegan pesto
polish garlic
Persian Garlic gives a nice spicy kick to the pesto
roasted cashews
Roasted Cashews were done using extra virgin olive oil and a hint of sea salt

How to Roast Cashews 

To roast the cashews, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, drizzle a little bit of extra virgin olive oil over the top of raw cashews and sprinkle a bit of salt. Massage it all together and throw into the oven at 350 F every so often, shake the pan a bit so the cashews flip over. Once they turn a nice golden brown take them out and let them cool completely. The time will depend on your oven anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. Make sure the cashews have cooled before use, as the oil from within them will separate when in the blender. 

pesto in a bowl with cashews

Such a delicious basil pesto, it freezes great and is wonderful as a dip for carrots, a spread on a pizza or even just eaten with a spoon. 

If you try out this recipe let us know! Leave a comment, rate it and tag a photo #holistickenko on Instagram! Have a wonderfully positive day everyone! 

pesto in a bowl with cashews

Vegan Paleo Pesto

This vegan paleo pesto is made in minutes with only five ingredients. You can use it in pasta, rice, as a dip or drizzled onto a pizza. 
5 from 1 vote
Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: 5 ingredient pesto, paleo pesto, Vegan Pesto
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 178kcal



  • 2 cups cashews roasted
  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves press down on them lightly
  • 1 2/3 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp himalayan salt
  • 4-5 garlic cloves chopped Polish or Persian garlic gives it a nice spicy kick


  • In a blender or food processor, throw in the cashews first, followed by the basil leaves, olive oil and then finally the salt and the garlic. 
  • Blend until smooth, but do not over blend. If there are small chunks of cashew here and there that is just fine. 
  • This makes quite a few portions, so I suggest storing it in separate containers, throw some int he freezer (will be good for a couple of months) and leave the one you can use right away in the fridge (it will be good for a week).


Calories: 178kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 236mg | Potassium: 203mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 505IU | Vitamin C: 2.2mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2.1mg
Tried this recipe?We’d love to see how it turned out! Mention @holistic_kenko or tag #holistickenko

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James Dys

5 stars
I adore homemade pesto! There’s just nothing like it during the summer when I have basil growing in my garden. I love that your version has roasted cashews and garlic in it.

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