I remember being a teenager and devouring my first ever basil pesto dish. It was actually a pesto pizza, served with huge tomato slices on top. I felt like I’d arrived.
Ever since then, pesto has been my jam. Vegan Pesto Linguine with Pistachio Crumbs is one of my weekly dinner go-to’s. It’s easy, it’s tasty, and it delivers all the flavors of summer in every delicious bite.
Pesto sauces can be loaded with calories, so while this recipe isn’t quiiiiiiite as “clean” the pesto recipe found in my article, 5 Oil-Free Salad Dressings that Taste Freaking Amazing, it’s still a lot leaner than a traditional basil pesto, which is loaded down with ample oil and cheeses.
What Makes This Vegan Pesto Linguine…Vegan?
Simple substitutions make Vegan Pesto Linguine with Pistachio Crumbs taste just as good as the dairy-full original. Instead of parmesan or pecorino romano, this recipe uses nutritional yeast, which has its own cheesy flavor. Nutrition yeast favors its siblings, brewer’s yeast and baking yeast, but is grown specifically for food consumption (versus making beer and baking bread).
It’s packed with nutrients — from vitamins and minerals, to antioxidants and even protein! It’s a fantastic food to add to any dish, and naturally comes with a cheese-like flavor profile.
I added a little lemon juice to my recipe, since I nix’d a fair bit of the olive oil. Without the standard amount olive oil, this recipe needed a bit of liquid help to keep from being too dry and crumby in the blender, and lemon juice tastes good with practically anything.
It makes the dish even lighter and brighter, and is a good replacement for extra oil.
And…pistachios are just for a little added crunch. I love foods with lots of texture, and they complemented the flavor of the pesto quite well.
How Long Will It Keep?
Vegan Pesto Linguine with Pistachio Crumbs will stay fresh (in an airtight container), refrigerated, for about 2 days. After that, the basil starts to wilt.
Hot or Cold?
I cooked my linguine first, blending the pesto while the pasta was boiling. Since the pasta was piping hot, I stirred in the pesto straight away and ate my serving hot. But it’s also nice chilled as a cool pasta salad!
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Vegan Pesto Linguine with Pistachio Crumbs
- 4-6 oz linguine pasta, or any noodle of your choice
- 1 bunch basil (about 2 cups of leaves) with hard stems removed
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 whole lemons, juiced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 dash salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup pistachio nuts, chopped into crumbs
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and begin cooking the noodles first.
- While pasta is boiling, add all remaining ingredients listed above to a food processor or blender. Process on pulse until ingredients combine…you may have to stop and scrape the sides down a bit. If it's still too thick, add 1 T of water at a time to thin.
- Drain the pasta once it's cooked. To make the pistachio crumbs, simply run a chefs knife through a small handful of pistachios until they have been diced through a few times. If you'd like to serve this dish hot, stir in all the pesto into the cooked pasta, then top with pistachio crumbs before serving.