5 MINUTE OIL-FREE PESTO (Vegan, with Avocado & Basil)

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This 5-minute vegan pesto recipe is so fresh and delicious, you’ll wonder why you ever bought it from the shop. It’s so easy to make too – a real throw-it-in-the-blender situation… and who doesn’t love that! 

Because of the avocado it’s really creamy, even though it’s a 100% oil-free pesto. This means we’re cutting down on calories, and getting in that extra nutrition by adding to our 5-a-day. 

If you’re looking for family-friendly vegan food then this pesto recipe is one to save for later. This really is a great healthy, vegan dinner or lunch recipe with the bonus of only taking 5 minutes to whip together… nice.

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two images of the pesto. The top is a close up mixed in with pesto, the bottow is the pesto with gnocchi in a bowl next to a dish of fresh pesto on a wooden chopping board. Text in the middle reads 'oil-free pest, easy, healthy, vegan'.

Why oil-free?

It’s easy to get the healthy fats your body needs without consuming oils. Avocados and nuts are great sources of healthy fats, and this oil-free pesto recipe happens to contain both of those things.

Oil is huge on calories while being low on satisfaction and that lovely feeling of ‘fullness’. 1 tbsp of olive oil is 100% fat and around 120 calories – that’s around the same calories as half a small avocado! 

What Equipment Do I Need to Make this Recipe?

Minimal kit! 

  • A half-decent blender
  • A kitchen knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • A lemon juicer would make life easier, but it isn’t essential
a close up of the vegan oil free pesto mixed into gnocchi

Oil-Free Pesto Ingredients (and Easy Swaps!)

All of the ingredients for this recipe are easy to get hold of. You will definitely want your ingredients for this vegan and dairy-free pesto to be as fresh as possible because that’s what pesto is all about!

  • Fresh Basil – Basil is delicious but I get that it can be expensive. Swapping it out for some fresh baby leaf spinach works well too, or even try half and half.
  • Avocado – This brings the creaminess that replaces the oil in traditional pesto, so stick with it and try to get a nice ripe avocado.
  • Lemon Juice – Fresh is best, but if you only have bottled then go with it.
  • Nuts – I used pine nuts to keep that semi-traditional pesto taste, but cashews, pecans, and walnuts work really well too – this is a fun ingredient to experiment with!
  • Garlic – Keep it fresh.
  • Nutritional Yeast – An optional ingredient. It brings the ‘cheesy’ flavor that in traditional pesto would be added by the parmesan cheese which is definitely not vegan. Nutritional yeast can be a little harder to come by than some of the other ingredients, so if you don’t have it then don’t worry, this recipe still tastes great without it!
  • Water and Salt 

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What Does it go With?

Yes, pesto is amazing with pasta, or fresh gnocchi as I’ve served it here, but the fun doesn’t stop there!

If you’ve got some leftover vegan pesto then why not try experimenting? Here’s a few ideas to get you started…

  • On pizza
  • As a dip for veggie sticks
  • Stirred into steamed potatoes (think potato salad)
  • Spread onto some toast
  • As a salad dressing
  • Added to hummus

If you’re looking to find even more ways to get creative with the pesto, there are more ideas from thekitchn.com that you can check out here.

How to Store Homemade Pesto

This no-oil pesto will last about five days in the fridge in a sealed container. This might be less than you’re used to with traditional pesto because the oil acts as a preserver. But, with the ideas above, you should have no trouble using it up!

It stores in the freezer nicely too. I know this might sound a little weird but put it in an ice cube tray to freeze, then transfer to a freezer bag and it’ll store for around three months. Just pop as many cubes as you need in the microwave to defrost, and you’re good!

the fresh avocado pesto in an ice cube tray, ready to go into the freezer for storage

More Ideas for Quick & Easy Vegan Dinners

If you’re into quick and easy, healthy pasta sauce recipes then these Bombveg recipes have got you covered. 

Did you Like This Vegan Oil-Free Pesto Recipe?

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the oil-free pesto in a white ceramic dish with a small spoon in it. Basil leaves and pine nuts are on the surface around it.
Yield: 6 people

5 MINUTE OIL-FREE PESTO (Vegan, with Avocado & Basil)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Quick and easy vegan avocado pesto recipe that tasted incredible! Fresh and delicious.


  • ½ cup Pine nuts*
  • 2 cups Fresh basil, (take off the big stalks)
  • 1 Avocado, (skin and pip removed)
  • 3 cloves Fresh garlic, (skin removed)
  • ½ Lemon, (juice squeezed)
  • 2 tbsp Nutritional yeast*, (optional)
  • ½ cup Water
  • ½ tsp Sea salt


  1. Add your nuts to the blender and blitz them for about 20 seconds so they are nicely ground up. blended pine nuts in a blender from the top down
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and blitz on high speed for a further minute or so until everything is combined and you don't have any big lumps left. pre-blended ingredients in the blender from the top down
  3. Add the pesto to some pasta, and serve. a large serving of the pesto on gnocchi in a white bowl, served with three fresh basil leaves as garnish.


* Other nuts you can use are cashews, walnuts, pecans. 

* This adds a 'cheesy' flavor but the pesto still tastes great without it.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 146Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 202mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 4gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g

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  1. 5 stars
    Quick and easy, tastes better than traditional pesto!!! Thanks !!!

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