This vegan avocado and basil pesto recipe is super flavorful, creamy, quick and easy to make. It's loaded with nutrients and healthy fats and ready in 15 minutes!
Why I love this vegan pesto
I love using avocados and incorporating their buttery texture into a dish and this pesto is no exception. Avocados are super nutrient-dense with high levels of dietary fiber, vitamin K, folate, vitamin C and potassium. They also thicken the pesto, making the creamy ribbons easier to spread on dishes like pizza, pasta or baked vegetables. This avocado and basil pesto also works well as a dollop in your soup!
Fresh basil is also the star of the show here. Its fragrant aroma and bright herby flavor adds zest to any dish. Basil boasts a hefty dose of healthy nutrients like vitamin A and magnesium, as well as its potent antioxidant and anti-bacterial effects.
Try this creamy vegan avocado and basil pesto on pasta or spiralized noodles.
Avocado: adds a rich creaminess to the pesto along with an array of healthy nutrients and antioxidants.
Fresh basil: has a bright, herby fragrant aroma that bumps up the taste of the pesto.
Baby kale: are the delicate leaves from a young kale plant that add a mild, slightly peppery taste.
Hemp seeds: are mild and nutty and add a great boost of plant-based protein.
Lemon: adds a bright and tangy flavour.
Nutritional yeast: has a unique savory flavor, much like Parmesan cheese. It's also a complete protein and has high levels of B vitamins and trace minerals.
Garlic: adds a warm, earthy depth to the vinaigrette. This little gem is also packed with antioxidants that support immune function.
How to pick the perfect avocado
- Skin hue
Depending on the level of ripeness, the skin will take on a different hue. A forest green color is what you want. If the avocado is vibrant green it was picked too early and needs time to ripen. If it's completely brown it may be overripe with brown patches on the interior flesh.
- The (gentle) squeeze test
Gently squeeze the avocado. If it is slightly soft than it's ripe. An underripe avocado will be hard, and an overripe avocado will be mushy.
Common Questions About Avocados
You can speed up the ripening of your avocado by placing it into a brown paper bag with a banana or apple and leaving it on the counter at room temperature.
If you have too many ripe avocados and you're going to eat them in the next day or so, just place them in the fridge, which will slow down ripening.
It's best to eat your pesto right after you make it since avocados have a tendency to brown from contact with air (oxidation). If you need to make it ahead or store leftovers, make sure you tightly pack it into an airtight container with little space to slow the oxidation process. You could also pour a little oil (like avocado or olive oil) on top of the pesto or a layer of water (pour it off before serving) to create a seal.
Slice the avocado in half lengthwise around the pit. Twist both halves and pull apart. Use a spoon to scoop out the pit. You can also remove the pit by carefully whacking it with the blade of a knife and lifting it out. Pop off the pit by scraping it on the sink or into the green bin.
Basil: you can use any herb like fresh cilantro or mint.
Kale: feel free to replace will more herbs or spinach if you have a hard time finding baby kale. You can also use mature kale but know that it does have a stronger, more bitter flavor.
Hemp seeds: you can swap for cashews as they also have a mild flavor but you’ll be missing out on the high protein profile of hemp seeds.
Nutritional yeast: you can swap it for vegan Parmesan cheese, or you can leave it out, but it does offer a nice 'cheesy' flavor to the pesto.
How to store leftovers
- It's best to eat your pesto right after you make it since avocados have a tendency to brown from contact with air (oxidation). If you need to make it ahead or store leftovers, make sure to tightly pack it into an airtight container with little space to slow the oxidation process.
- You could also pour a little oil (like avocado or olive oil) on top of the pesto or a layer of water (pour it off before serving) to create a seal.