Before going vegan, I used to have a slight obsession with pesto. I remember I would always opt for pesto sauce on my pasta rather than tomato or alfredo. There was just always something about the saltiness of the pesto and the fragrance of the herbs that always drew me to pesto. So it was always a recipe I wanted to veganize.
This recipe is a twist on the original pesto with substitutions that still give the cheesy and aromatic flavour but easier on the budget and waste line. Instead of using pine nuts, which are incredibly expensive, I used cashews which give the sauce a slightly sweeter taste and is cheaper. Nutritional yeast was an easy replacement for the parmesan cheese, where a little really goes a long way to still incorporate the cheesy flavour of pesto. This sauce is not only incredibly tasty on pizza but also works well as a salad dressing or pasta sauce.
Below you can find the link to the video tutorial of this recipe
- 1/2 cup cashew
- 2.5 tbsp nutritional yeast
- Juice of half a small lemon (2 tsp of lemon juice)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup packed parsley
- 1 cup packed spinach
- 2/3 cup water
- salt (to taste)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tsp active yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp rosemary
- The first thing you will be making is the dough. In a bowl combine the active yeast and warm water and let it sit till the mixture looks foamy on the top. This should take between 10-15 minutes
- In a separate bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, olive oil, rosemary and salt.
- After mixing the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and combine till you get a firm dough. At first the mixture may seem too wet but keep combining and kneading till you get a solid dough that is not too sticky. Knead for another 5 minutes to allow the dough to get softer and more elastic.
- Cut the dough in half, put the two dough balls in separate bowls and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour.
- Before the hour is up, preheat your oven to 500F (260C)
- After it rises for an hour, you are going to roll it out on a well floured surface. (I used parchment paper in the video but its easier to just roll out on a floured counter surface)
- In a high speed blender combine all the pesto ingredients and purée. I suggest pouring all the liquids into the blender first before adding everything else so that the cashews blend properly.
- Make sure to taste the pesto to ensure there is enough salt
- After, divide the pesto in half to spread on both pizzas. Top pizzas with sliced tomatoes, mushrooms or whatever veggies you want
- Bake in the oven for 10-11 mins, till the crust is nice and brown
- Slice the pizza and sprinkle with nutritional yeast for extra cheezy taste