How To Make Pesto Vegan

Vegan pumpkin seed pesto with miso

Normally pesto is always made with parmesan cheese and this gives the sauce an umami flavour that can be difficult to replace. In this recipe we swap out the cheese with another umami flavour – Miso.

Maybe you are looking for something vegan, or a new flavour or you are like me and forgot to buy parmesan at the store – no worries this is your fix.

Vegan pumpkin seed pesto with miso

How To Make Pesto Vegan

A tasty pesto with toasted pumpkin seeds, spinach, basil and white miso.
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • Food processor


  • 300 g spinach washed and dried
  • 1 clove garlic grated (through a garlic press or microplane)
  • 100 ml olive oil roughly
  • 100 g toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 3 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1-2 ice cubes
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 1 bunch green basil leaves picked
  • salt and pepper


  • Toast pumpkin seeds in an oven on a tray at about 200C/400F for about 6 minutes or until nicely browned. Transfer to another plate to cool.
  • Place all of the spinach in a food processor and combine with everything except for the pumpkin seeds. Blend until smooth, being careful to not let the sauce get too hot from the heat of the motor. Keeping the sauce cold means our sauce will keep its beautiful green colour.
  • Now add the pumpkin seeds and pulse a few times until a nice texture is achieved. Pesto should still be slightly rough and never completely smooth. The secret ingredient here is ice cubes and a splash or two of cold water. If the pesto is too thick add some cold water and if it is too thin add more pumpkin seeds. Aim for a texture similar to hummus.
  • Before you are finished give it a good taste. It should be salty from the miso, not too garlickly and have a delicious freshness from the spinach and basil.
    Once finished, pack it in a container with a lid and it will keep nice in the fridge for up to three days. Also freezes really well.
    Add a couple spoonfuls to cooked pasta and adjust the thickness with some hot pasta water.
Tried this recipe?Leave me a comment below 🙂


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