vegan pesto pasta

Vegan Pesto Pasta

Learn how to make the creamiest vegan pesto sauce and then use that sauce to make the best high-protein vegan pesto pasta!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 19 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 238kcal
Author Stacey Eckert



Vegan Pesto Sauce -

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves (about 2 ounces without stems)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios (shelled)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 large avocado
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or water or non-dairy milk)
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

Vegan Pesto Pasta -

  • vegan pesto sauce (that you just made)
  • 1/2 cup hot pasta water (reserve 1 cup just in case you need more)
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 5 oz package baby arugula
  • 16 oz orecchiette pasta (use gluten-free noodles if necessary)


  • Boil a large pot of water and cook the noodles.
  • While the noodles are cooking, make the vegan pesto. Add the basil, pistachios, garlic, avocado, lemon juice, and olive oil to a small food processor or blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste it and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Pour the (drained) hot noodles into a large skillet over low heat. Add all of the pesto sauce, green peas, and fresh arugula to the pan. Mix it well to coat the noodles with the pesto sauce. If the pesto sauce is too thick, add 1/2 cup at a time of the reserved hot pasta water to help loosen the sauce.


  • You can substitute cashews, almonds, or walnuts for the pistachios. 
  • If you want to add a "cheesy" flavor to the pesto sauce, add 2 tsbp of nutritional yeast. 
  • If you want to omit the oil from the pesto recipe, you can use water or unsweetened non-dairy milk instead (coconut, almond, or cashew).
  • You can use fresh, canned, or frozen green peas for the pasta recipe. Just make sure if you use frozen peas that you let them fully cook in the pan first before you add the pasta. 
  • You can substitute spinach or thinly sliced kale for arugula. 
  • You do not have to use orecchiette pasta, you can use whatever you have on hand. I just like how the sauce fills up the little pockets. 
  • Before you drain the noodles, reserve 1 cup of the hot pasta water. I only used 1/2 cup but you might prefer the pesto sauce to be saucier. 


Calories: 238kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 392mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 700IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1.5mg