Vegan Spinach Parsley Pesto

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This last week I went to an acupuncturist for the first time to help with some of my chronic pain issues. Because it’s probably the result of inflammation, she suggested some dietary changes. I bet you can guess where this is going; no dairy and no gluten. Luckily, she said to cut those things out just for a week, then reintroduce them. That way I can see if I have any sensitivities. Having to give up dairy is way harder for me then having to give up gluten. I put cheese on so many things! So I tried to think of some kind of sauce I could make that doesn’t have any dairy. That’s where this Vegan Spinach Parsley Pesto comes into play. vegan spinach parsley pesto

I’m a big-time pasta eater. I usually don’t worry about it being gluten free or having a lot of carbs. It’s something I enjoy, so I’m still going to eat it. In moderation of course. Anyway, I usually make pasta with some kind of cheese sauce, like an alfredo. This week, however, that’s not an option for me. I can’t have marinara because of my Interstitial Cystitis (too acidic), plus I’m not a huge fan of it anyway. Luckily, I LOVE pesto, so it was a natural choice.

What’s in the Vegan Spinach Parsley Pesto?

Normally, my family makes pesto with basil, but as we had an overgrown Italian parsley plant sitting in the kitchen window, I thought I’d take advantage of that. Plus, I love the refreshing flavor of parsley! Adding spinach was a great way to add some substance to the sauce while bringing in some extra leafy greens! I’d have to say spinach is probably my favorite leafy green because it’s full of iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and fiber. It’s also decently high in protein as far as greens go. Walnuts are another must for this recipe, adding heart healthy omega-3’s and a richer flavor! Plus, we have so many walnuts here at the house, it was only logical to use them. And what is pesto without garlic and olive oil? Garlic is probably one of my favorite spices ever. I literally put it on just about anything, so of course I use a ton when I make this recipe. And like any good pesto, a nice olive oil is key. vegan spinach parsley pesto carrots

But what about the parmesan you ask? All good pesto has parmesan, right? Well, not necessarily. I love that super aged cheese as much as the next person, but seeing as I’m trying to avoid dairy at the moment, it wasn’t an option for this recipe. I also love making recipes that are accessible to most diets, so leaving the cheese out allows more people to enjoy. In place of parmesan I used nutritional yeast. I know this is kind of a trendy ingredient these days, but it definitely adds that cheesey mellowness to this recipe, which really balances out the garlic. Nutritional yeast is also a good plant-based source of Vitamin B-12 and protein! vegan spinach parsley pesto

Whether your vegan, vegetarian, or just plain like food, I hope you enjoy this Vegan Spinach Parsley Pesto!

Print Recipe
Vegan Spinach Parsley Pesto
Course Main Dish, Sauce
Cuisine Italian, Sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Course Main Dish, Sauce
Cuisine Italian, Sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
  1. In a blender or food processor, pulse spinach, parsley, and olive oil until mostly broken down. (You may have to pulse half of the spinach first in order to make room for the rest, depending on your food processor.)
  2. Add garlic, walnuts, nutritional yeast, and salt to food processor.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Store in jar or other air-tight container in the fridge.
  5. Enjoy on pasta, roasted veggies, or anywhere else you use pesto!
Recipe Notes

I love garlic, so I use 4 cloves of garlic in this recipe. If you're not as crazy about garlic as I am, use less!

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19 comments / Add your comment below

  1. This is such a lovely recipe. I am partially vegan and –while I don’t cook a whole lot– I’m always looks for recipes that I can make the night before for lunch the next day and this seems delicious.

    Great post! x


    1. This recipe is great because you make it on a weekend when you have some time, store it in a jar in the fridge, and just use it on whatever you want throughout the week! It’s been great because if I wanted to make something quick and easy, I’d just boil up some chickpea noodles and toss them in this pesto and BAM, I have a super tasty, easy meal! Enjoy!

  2. I love pesto! I didn’t start liking it until I was in my late 20s. LOL.
    I would give this a try. I don’t know where I can find nutritional yeast though so I’ll just use Parmesan cheese. Hehehe

    1. They sell it online and at Trader Joe’s if you’re interested, but parmesan is delicious too! Let me know how it works with the parmesan please!!

    1. Glad I’m not alone in my love of garlic! Definitely not kissing food, if you know what I mean haha, but it’s so good with lot’s of garlic!

  3. Mmmmm mmmm mmmm. I love me some delicious pesto. I’m excited to try your recipe. When we were kids we used to call it grasshopper sauce! And I looooove your idea of putting it on roasted veggies!! That’s what’s for dinner tomorrow! Thanks!!

    1. That is the cutest name I’ve ever heard for pesto! Love it! And please let me know how they turn out! I’m obsessed with it on carrots!

  4. I love that you used what you had available at home!! I recently sowed some parsley seeds so I should have a big harvest this summer, can’t wait to try this out!

    1. Thank you so much! I love using homegrown foods! That’s so exciting! I’m getting into gardening and absolutely love it!

    1. It’s super light and refreshing! I love it in the summer personally! Especially good on Trader joe’s Cauli gnocchi!

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