Last summer, we had the biggest basil plant I've ever had, so I was making pesto like crazy. Now we have a basil plant doing well in our Aerogarden, so I'm back at it. This almond butter vegan pesto is my favorite because it's so easy to make with basic ingredients. The almond butter takes the place of pine nuts, so I never have to buy special nuts--I can just pull out my jar of almond butter. I bulked it up with some spinach to get my greens in, and I left out the cheese because, honestly, it tastes great without it. It's vegan (and Whole30 and Paleo!), but that's not really by design--it's just so delightfully fresh that it doesn't need any dairy to weigh it down.
Here's what you need.
For the pesto:
- Fresh spinach. We use baby spinach, but any spinach will do.
- Fresh basil
- Almond butter. This takes the place of pine nuts in traditional pesto recipes, which are quite expensive. We always have almond butter on hand, so we can just pull it out of the pantry to make this pesto.
- Pantry ingredients/spices: Olive oil, garlic, fresh lemon juice, black pepper, salt, and crushed red pepper
Here's how you make it.
This pesto is unbelievably easy.
All you have to do is combine spinach, basil, garlic, lemon juice, almond butter, olive oil, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper in a food processor and process it until it's smooth.
Then enjoy it over pasta, chicken, salmon, or whatever you'd like! You can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Here are some recipes that use this pesto:
- Shrimp and Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes (Dairy Free)
- One Pan Creamy Pesto Salmon with Roasted Tomatoes and Pecans
Almond Butter Vegan Spinach Pesto: FAQs
Of course! If you're not vegan/Whole30/paleo, feel free to add cheese! I'd recommend good quality parmesan or pecorino Romano. Just add it to the food processor with the other ingredients or mix in finely grated cheese at the end.
Yes! I've also tested mixed nut butter, which usually includes some combination of almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, or flax seeds. We love the Kirkland Mixed Nut Butter at Costco. Trader Joe's has a great mixed nut butter too. I haven't tested other nut or seed butters, but I'm sure this would also be great with cashew butter, sunflower seed butter, etc. If you try other substitutes, let us know how it was in the comments!
You can! I've tried this without the almond butter, and it's still good. Simply make the recipe as written, but exclude the almond butter. If the pesto is too runny for you, add more spinach.