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Vegan Cilantro Pesto Recipe

If you are a cilantro lover, this Vegan Cilantro Pesto is for you! This twist on traditional uses cilantro instead of basil in a plant-based pesto sauce that's ready in only 5 minutes.
5 stars (2 ratings)


  • 2 cups cilantro
  • cup pine nuts, or seeds if nut-free
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • ½ cup 120 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • cup nutritional yeast, or parmesan cheese
  • teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • Optional: squeeze of fresh lemon juice


  • Wash and prep the cilantro: Begin by rinsing the cilantro under cold water to remove any dirt. Once cleaned, dry it on a kitchen towel or in a salad spinner.
  • Blend the greens, nuts, garlic, and oil: Next, add the cleaned and dried cilantro to a food processor. Add pine nuts and garlic cloves and pulse until finely chopped. As you're pulsing the ingredients, slowly pour in the oil. You'll want your pesto to still have chunks for texture but all ingredients should be well coated in oil.
  • Add nutritional yeast, spices, and lemon juice: Finally, slowly add in nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper, tasting and adding more until you reach your preferred taste.


  • Make it nut-free: Traditional pesto sauce uses pine nuts, but any nut or seeds will be delicious in this pesto. We used sunflower seeds in this recipe (as shown in the accompanying photos) to make this pesto nut-free.
  • Make it vegan: Make this pesto recipe vegan by using dairy-free parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast.
  • Tools needed: food processor or blender, knife set, cutting board
  • Prep ahead: Make this simple pesto up to 2-3 days before serving, or freeze until ready to use.
  • Leftovers and storage: Leftover pesto should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days, and in the freezer for up to 2 months (possibly longer).
  • Nutrition notes: This recipe made as written (with vegan cheese and seeds) is plant-based, gluten-free, and nut-free. It is a good source of vitamin C, plant-based protein, and fiber.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 83kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Sodium: 19mg, Potassium: 46mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 136IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 2mg, Iron: 1mg