Dairy Free Pesto Sauce

Dairy Free Pesto Sauce {Vegan, Whole 30, Paleo}

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When I first started on my journey of living with Hashimoto’s and clean eating, I was on the lookout for some paleo and Whole 30 recipes of my favorite dishes. Pesto is definitely up there as one of my favorite sauces (second to ranch) which meant I was on the look out for a dairy free pesto sauce that was not just delicious but very clean!

Dairy Free Pesto Sauce

Since finding out I had Hashimoto’s disease, I have transitioned my consumption to a more toxic-free and paleo lifestyle. This includes me taking out gluten and dairy within my diet. Please note, as a working Mom, it is important to me to keep a balance and have mental health as one of my top priorities.

That said, I do not subscribe to a black-and-white way of thinking when it comes to eating lifestyles. I am not someone who is all-in and judge those who don’t choose the way I eat and conduct my life.

I think everyone is doing the best they can with the cards they have been dealt; balance and mental health are the most important. YOU DO YOU! When I talk about eating Whole 30 and paleo, I am showcasing what works for me and my family on our own healthy journey.

What is Pesto?

Pesto is a sauce that originated in Genoa, the capital city of Liguria, Italy. Traditionally, the sauce is made up of basil, garlic, pine nuts, salt, and parmigiano-reggiano all blended together in olive oil.

Accompaniments may include the most popular past, meat, potatoes, other veggies and my personal favorite a spoonful directly into my mouth. YIKES, did I just say that?

Dairy Free Pesto Sauce

Vegan Dairy Free Pesto Sauce

Since one of the ingredients in pesto is dairy (parmigiano-reggiano) I substituted nutritional yeast which added to the flavor and nutritional benefits to the dairy free pesto sauce.

What is Nutritional Yeast?

What is nutritional yeast you ask? Don’t worry when I first heard about it, I had no idea what it was and what it was used for. Nutritional Yeast (also known as nooch) is a deactivated yeast, often a strain of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae and is sold in form of yellow fakes, granules or powder. Some of the health benefits in nutritional yeast may include:

  • Boosting energy
  • Supporting the immune system
  • Skin, nail and hair health
  • and more

What to serve this Dairy Free Pesto with?

There are so many ways to serve pesto that is not just pasta. You are able to enjoy it with pasta, vegetables, as a sauce for pizza with pretty much any kind of meat or even a dipping sauce with bread. Pesto is a delicious, creamy and earthy sauce that adds that extra “something-something” to any dish you are serving.

Tools you will need to make the Dairy Free Pesto

Ninja Blender

One of the most important things that you will need to make sauce is either a blender or a food processor. I make all my sauces in this Ninja Blender that we got as a gift for our wedding! We love it and I think you will love it too! Check it out here.

How to make Dairy Free Pesto Sauce

What you will need for this recipe is basil, nutritional yeast, pine nuts, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice.

Step 1

In a blender or food processor, blend in basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and lemon juice until combined.

Step 2

Once blended, add in the garlic, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast. Add additional salt and pepper as desired. ENJOY!

Dairy Free Pesto Sauce {Vegan, Whole 30, Paleo}

Recipe by Ashland Difficulty: Easy


Prep time






  • 3 cups of basil

  • 2 cups pine nuts

  • Juice of 1 medium lemon

  • 1 cup of olive oil

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 3 tbsp of nutritional yeast

  • 3 tsp salt

  • 2 tsp pepper


  • In a blender or food processor, blend in basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and lemon juice until combined.
  • Once blended, add in the garlic, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast. Add additional salt and pepper as desired. ENJOY!

Recipe Video

What are the Benefits of being Dairy Free?

Being dairy-free can offer several benefits to your health and the environment. It can help you lose weight and improve your digestion by eliminating high-calorie, high-fat, and potentially irritating foods from your diet. It can also reduce your risk of heart disease by cutting out foods high in saturated fat. In addition, eliminating dairy may improve your acne and bone health, and increase your intake of plant-based nutrients.

Being dairy-free can also have environmental benefits, as the dairy industry has a significant impact on resources and sustainability. Finally, choosing a dairy-free diet can help reduce animal suffering, as the dairy industry often involves inhumane treatment of cows and other animals.

Other benefits of being dairy free can include:

Weight loss

Dairy products are high in calories, fat, and cholesterol, which can lead to weight gain if consumed in excess. By eliminating dairy from your diet, you may be able to lose weight more easily.

Improved digestion

Some people have difficulty digesting dairy products due to lactose intolerance or a sensitivity to the proteins found in milk. Eliminating dairy can improve symptoms such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea.

Increased intake of plant-based nutrients

When you eliminate dairy from your diet, you may be more likely to consume more plant-based foods, which are high in nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Environmental benefits

The dairy industry has a significant environmental impact due to the resources required to produce milk and other dairy products. By eliminating dairy, you can reduce your carbon footprint and support more sustainable food production practices.

Animal welfare

The dairy industry often involves inhumane treatment of animals, including separating calves from their mothers and confining cows to small spaces. By eliminating dairy, you can help reduce animal suffering.


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Dairy Free Pesto Sauce

Frequently Asked Questions about Dairy Free Pesto Sauce

What is Whole 30?

 Whole 30 is a 30-day elimination diet that involves eating whole and unprocessed foods with the long-term goal to reduce inflammation, help your gut health and overall change your relationship with food. Learn more about the Whole 30 program here.

What is Paleo?

Paleo is similar to the Whole 30 when it comes to the health benefits. Paleo is more of a sustainable lifestyle and allows for things like dark chocolate to clean wines. Many people start off with Whole 30 and venture into a Paleo lifestyle as Whole 30 is intended only as a 30-day elimination diet.

Is this recipe vegan?

Yes, this recipe is vegan, Whole 30, Paleo, Gluten-Free and contains clean ingredients.

Is store bought pesto dairy free?

Pesto is normally made with dairy. That said, there have been MANY alternatives that have come out. I would make sure that you read all your labels when purchasing anything.


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