Tahini Pesto

We made this creamy basil pesto with a lovely combo of nutty tahini, zesty lemon, and "cheesy" nutritional yeast. It's vegan, oil-free, and nut-free, perfect with pasta, salads, and wraps.

Vegan Tahini Pesto Recipe


Nutrition per serving
Net Carbs3.9 g1.4%
of which Sugars4.8 g5.4%
Fibers3.4 g12%
Fats4.5 g6.9%
of which Saturates1.4 g6.8%
of which Omega 30.2 g21.1%
Proteins5.8 g12.5%
Calcium65 mg6.5%
Vitamin A34 mcg4.8%
Vitamin C14 mg18.9%
Iron1.6 mg10.6%
Potassium249 mg7.1%
Sodium12 mg0.5%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Kcal79 3.9%
Macro split
  • net carbs 22%
  • sugars 28%
  • fats 26%
  • saturates 8%
  • proteins 33%
  • fibers 19%
*RDA based on a 2000 kcal diet;
**Nutritional data sources: USDA, food labels.
79 per serving

Today we want to show you how to make a creamy vegan tahini pesto, combining some of the tastiest ingredients of Mediterranean cuisine: sesame paste, basil, and lemon. It's ready in only 5 minutes, and you'll need just 5 simple ingredients. Let's do it!

Pesto is a world-famous Italian condiment made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and parmesan. The ingredients are pounded together with a pestle and mortar into a creamy paste.

It's a versatile sauce often used with pasta, as a topping for pizza, or stirred with potato mash. It's also great with on roasted vegetables, spread in sandwiches, and stuffed in savoury pies.

But classic pesto is not dairy-free or vegan. So we made our tahini pesto to compensate for that. This recipe blends the nutty taste of sesame paste with the sweet aroma of basil and the freshness of lemon.

It makes a wholesome, healthy condiment that will enrich any dish with its unique flavour. And being dairy-free, vegan, and nut-free, it's safe for practically everyone to enjoy.

Instead of using parmesan, we opted for nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a heat-deactivated yeast sold as flakes or powder, fortified with vitamin B12.

It's a great alternative to parmesan, thanks to its strong, cheesy flavour and nutritional benefits.

Tahini is a spreadable paste made from hulled sesame seeds and it's a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine.

In this recipe, we used it instead of olive oil to give the pesto a rich, roasted flavour. Also, weight-by-weight, tahini has fewer fats and more proteins and fibres than oil, making it a worthy substitute.

Another way to make vegan basil pesto without cheese and oil is to use silken tofu. It blends into a super creamy sauce—check it out in our tofu basil pesto recipe!

If you want to prepare a big batch of this vegan tahini pesto sauce, pour it into a jar and cover it with oil or lemon juice before sealing it. Stored this way, it will keep for a week in the fridge.


Measuring System
Fresh Basil50 g
Tahini2 tbsp
Garlic Powder1 tsp
Nutritional Yeast4 tbsp
Water2 tbsp

Step 1

Rinse the lemon. Then grate the zest leaving behind the bitter white pith underneath the peel, and juice it.

zested and juiced lemon

Step 2

Now, add the lemon zest and juice to a food processor, followed by fresh basil, tahini, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, and the given water.

Season all with a good pinch of salt.

tahini basil pesto ingredients in a blender

Step 3

Blitz the ingredients, scraping down the edges with a spatula a few times in between pulses until you have a smooth and creamy pesto.

tahini basil pesto in a bowl


Transfer the pesto into a jar or air-tight container and keep it in the fridge for a week.