Creamy Pesto Sauce (Dairy-Free)

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Wooden spoon full of creamy dairy-free pesto resting on a jar full of the pesto sauce recipe

We’re throwing a pesto party, and you’re invited! With all the herby, savory goodness of traditional basil pesto, this CREAMY dairy-free pesto SAUCE is endlessly versatile and almost too easy. It comes together in just 5 minutes with 7 simple ingredients!

This sauce is delicious on everything from pasta to veggies and beyond. Let’s get pesto-ing! 

Nutritional yeast, cashews, water, olive oil, lemons, garlic, fresh basil, and sea salt

How to Make Creamy Pesto Sauce, Dairy-Free!

This creamy pesto sauce is a twist on our Easy Vegan Pesto. It has similar ingredients, including basil, garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and salt. The difference is that it heads in a creamy, cheesy, saucy direction with cashews and extra water, nutritional yeast, and salt.

Pouring water into a blender over cashews, garlic, fresh basil, and nutritional yeast

To make it, simply blend everything in a powerful blender (so the cashews break down fully), and it’s ready to serve!

Spoonful of creamy pesto sauce resting on top of a jar with more sauce in it

We hope you LOVE this dairy-free pesto sauce! It’s:

Quick & easy
& SO versatile!

Enjoy it on pasta or drizzle over chickenfishveggies, or bowls (recipe coming soon)!

More Herby Dairy-Free Sauces

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Drizzling a dairy-free creamy pesto sauce over a bowl of cooked pasta

Creamy Pesto Sauce (Dairy-Free)

5-minute CREAMY pesto sauce with cashews and fresh basil. An herby, savory, dairy-free addition to pasta, veggies, and beyond!
Author Minimalist Baker
Spoonful of pesto sauce resting on top of a jar
4.34 from 6 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 8 (1/4-cup servings)
Course Sauce
Cuisine Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2-3 Days


  • 2/3 cup raw cashews*
  • 2 cups (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil (for richness // if oil-free, add more water)
  • 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/2-2/3 cup water


  • Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender* (starting with the lesser amounts of lemon juice and water) and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Taste and adjust, adding more cashews for richness/thickness, more nutritional yeast for “cheesiness,” more lemon juice for brightness, or more salt for overall flavor/balance.
  • Enjoy on pasta or drizzle over chicken, fish, veggies, or bowls (recipe coming soon)!
  • Leftover sauce will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Not freezer friendly.


*A NutriBullet or similar small, powerful blender will also work well. We didn’t find it necessary to soak the cashews for this recipe, but if you don’t have a powerful blender, soaking will help (though it may not be enough to achieve a completely creamy sauce).
*Recipe as written makes ~2 cups.
*Adapted from our Creamy Vegan Pesto Pasta (30 Minutes!).
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amount of lemon juice.

Nutrition (1 of 8 servings)

Serving: 1 (1/4-cup) serving Calories: 116 Carbohydrates: 4.6 g Protein: 3.3 g Fat: 10 g Saturated Fat: 1.6 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.4 g Monounsaturated Fat: 6.3 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 295 mg Potassium: 141 mg Fiber: 1 g Sugar: 0.8 g Vitamin A: 70 IU Vitamin C: 3 mg Calcium: 21 mg Iron: 1.1 mg

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My Rating:

  1. Rose says

    We loved this sauce! We served it on gf pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden and vegan parm. We cut the salt in half and used a little less lemon juice. It was perfect for a quick dinner.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Rose. Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

  2. Gina says

    I made this and used it for the sauce on a homemade pizza. The only change I made was to double the garlic to 2 cloves. Topping included shaved summer squash (yellow and green), shaved asparagus, a a good sprinkling of minced and sauteed tempeh bacon. Topped with thinly-sliced quick pickled red onion and your vegan cashew parm. Thanks for another keeper recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so sorry you didn’t enjoy it, Maria. Did you try adjusting the salt, to taste? We ask because other readers have been enjoying it! This isn’t a classic pesto recipe and instead a creamy sauce with pesto-inspired flavors, so it won’t have as strong of a basil/herby flavor. Perhaps that’s not what you were expecting?

  3. Brittney says

    Had 2 beautiful bundles of basil in csa box this week and the vegan 5min pesto is a favorite for 5&2yo! We loved this!! The cashews make it so creamy. Nothing is better than a quick blender sauce that the kids can make themselves. Thank you!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad it was a hit with the whole family. Thank you for sharing, Brittney! xo

  4. Karen Gender says

    This came to me in an email yesterday. I was making barbecued portobello sliders. The recipe suggested a green goddess dressing with cilantro and parsley, but I had a lot of basil, so I made this. I did not use oil, and it was fabulous. I did use the greater amount of lemon juice. It was bright, fresh and creamy!