This recipe is for creamy, flavoursome, and versatile vegan pesto sauce that is a little work to make but goes well on pasta, or with gnocchi.
I recently tried my own hand at making homemade gnocchi, which was incredibly cathartic and far easier than I thought it would be. I used My Primrose Hill Kitchen’s recipe. You can of course just buy ready-made gnocchi but I like a challenge and wanted to make a full meal from scratch.
The basics of this sauce are simple but lots of strong flavours that work well together. It seems like a lot of basil and garlic but they really do go together and the cashew nuts make it super creamy. I will admit to being a bit of a skeptic about cashews being a cheese or cream replacement but after winging it and putting this recipe together, I am now a convert.
You need to soak the cashews in water to soften them. I did this 6 hours before, to give them enough time to soak and go soft.
This recipe is gluten-free, egg and dairy-free so it’s also vegan. This recipe makes enough for four portions of per person pasta or gnocchi and is creamy enough to coat but full of flavour.
You will need:
300g of raw unsalted cashews. Soak them in enough water to cover them, for at least 6 hours.
Two tablespoons of nutritional yeast
4 handfuls of basil (I know this is vague but roughly about that, you can add a little less or more)
150g of pine nuts
200ml of good olive oil but not a strong extra virgin one, just a normal one you would use for cooking.
5 cloves of garlic peeled.
Drain the cashew nuts and blend them in a blender until smooth. Don’t discard the water from the cashews, as you may need to use it to make the paste smoother, and not too dry.
Add the nutritional yeast and pine nuts and blend again.
Add the garlic and blend.
Add half your basil and half your olive oil and blend until smooth.
Then add the rest of your basil and the oil and blend til it’s a gorgeous bright green colour and smooth. You may want to taste test and add a little salt but the nutritional yeast should cover that area of taste for you.
You can store this in the fridge until you want to use it or you can warm it through and serve it on pasta. I think it would also make a pretty good dip for chips or crackers too. You will want to lick the bowl clean.