This creamy vegan parsley and chives pesto with cashews and sunflower seeds makes such a delicious addition to your meals. It can be eaten in a sandwich or a wrap, used in pasta dishes, or served as a dip. There is even a nut-free option in this recipe, so that anyone can enjoy it.
So quick and easy to make, yet so versatile and tasty. This simple recipe for vegan parsley and chives pesto is perfect if you want a dairy-free pesto option that is done quickly. It is also a milder alternative to classic pesto in many ways.
With this pesto recipe, you will get a spread that contains much less oil (and can be made completely oil-free); instead of the classic combination of basil and garlic, I decided to use parsley and chives which makes it milder in flavour; also, a combination of cashews and nutritional yeast makes up a perfect (also natural and healthy!) vegan alternative to the hard cheese that is normally used in pesto recipes.
Ingredients for the parsley and chives pesto with cashews and sunflower seeds
To make this delicious plant-based pesto with chives and parsley, you will need:
- sunflower seeds
- nutritional yeast
- olive oil
- Himalayan salt or sea salt
- lemon juice
Cashew and sunflower seed combination gives this spread its perfect creaminess and cheese-like taste. Cashews will make it so creamy and “cheesy”, while sunflower seeds come as a perfect solution to balance it out a bit. They will keep the pesto lighter, as cashews alone can be a bit heavy.
If you are avoiding cashews, or nuts altogether, this parsley and chives pesto can be made completely nut-free. Just substitute the cashews with half a cup of sunflower seeds and you are good to go. Having a 100% sunflower seed based spread will change the flavour a tiny bit, but nothing to worry about – it will still be tasty and “cheesy” enough!
I absolutely love how this pesto goes in wraps and sandwiches. One of my recent favourites is this combination on a slice of home made rice bread, or this delicious pumpkin and cornmeal bread, with grilled marinated tofu and some home made, naturally fermented pink sauerkraut on top.
- 1/2 cup cashews*
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped chives
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup water (start with less, and add more as needed)
- 2 pinches sea salt
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Chop the fresh parsley and chives.
- Put all the ingredients in a blender or a food processor, and blend until the desired consistency.*
- Transfer your pesto into a jar and store in the fridge. In my experience, it can last for about 3 days for sure, sometimes even longer (but wouldn't bet on that).
* Even though the cashews in this recipe will give you that extra creaminess, you can leave them out in case you need to avoid them in your diet. To make this pesto completely nut-free, just substitute the cashews with the same amount of sunflower seeds.
* When adding water, it is better start with less and see how it goes - you can add some more while blending; the amount of water needed depends on how smooth and creamy you want your pesto to be - the longer you blend (the smoother it gets), the more water is required for proper blending.
* I like to make a super creamy and smooth pesto by blending it for a long time, but you can also process it a bit less if you want it to remain chunky. I would recommend a food processor, not a blender, if you want to achieve a chunky consistency.
Hope you will try out this recipe and enjoy the wonderful versatility of this simple plant-based pesto spread.