Paleo Basil Cashew Pesto

This dairy-free and paleo basil pesto is made with pre-soaked cashews, which give it a gorgeous velvety cream consistency. Spread over sweet potato toast, use as a dip or top a piece of fish and pop it under the grill.

Paleo Basil Cashew Pesto Recipe

I bought a big bunch of fresh basil the other day and wanted to make my regular pesto but realised that I only had some cashews on hand (I usually add pine nuts). I often use soaked cashews for making a dairy-free ‘cheese-y’ sauce and in dips, so they quickly ended up in a blender together with fresh herbs and olive oil.

Creamy Paleo Basil Cashew Pesto

The mixture is a thicker, creamier consistency of a regular pesto and has that beautiful fresh basil flavour mellowed out by the nutty, sweet cashews and olive oil, plus a hint of garlic.

You can use this basil cashew pesto as a spread over roasted sweet potato toast, sliced tomatoes or as a condiment in a tasty paleo wrap. I love it as a dip with fresh carrot and celery sticks and to stir through some scrambled eggs. If you have some zucchini or celeriac noodles, this pesto can be used as a lovely warm sauce as well. Oh, and it makes for a marvellous grilled fish crust!

Basil cashew pesto over scrambled eggs

Store this creamy pesto in an air-tight jar for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Paleo Basil Cashew Pesto Recipe

Paleo Basil Cashew Pesto

  • Author: Irena Macri | Eat Drink Paleo
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 1 1/5 cups 1x



  • ½ cup cashew nuts, soaked in warm water for 34 hours
  • 1 medium bunch of fresh basil (about 2 cups packed with leaves)
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 2 clove of garlic, chopped roughly
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • Generous pinch of pepper
  • ¼ cup water


  1. Pre-soak the cashew nuts in a bowl of warm water for 3-4 hours and strain through a sieve.
  2. Tear off the basil leaves and save the stalks for a soup, although you can also use some of the stalks in the pesto.
  3. Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender. Process into a thick puree, adding a little more water if the consistency is too thick. Taste the pureed mixture for salt and lemon, and add more if you like. You can also add some chilli or more garlic, if you like an extra kick, or some nutritional yeast flakes for a more cheesy flavour.


Creamy Paleo Basil Cashew Pesto (Dairy-free, Whole30, Vegan)


About the author: I share tasty recipes, tips, and meal plans to help you get healthier and lose weight. I am a qualified nutrition coach with an Advanced Diploma in Nutrition & Weight Management. More about me here.

PS. Some posts contain affiliate links. I may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you!) for purchases made through these links. This income helps to cover the operational costs of the blog. Thank you xo

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