Share this recipe!

This easy homemade cashew pesto is made with cashews instead of pine nuts for an inexpensive way to make fresh pesto at home! Best of all, this Cashew pesto recipe only takes about 10 minutes!

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Quick and Easy Cashew Basil Pesto

If you love the taste of a fresh pesto, but hate spending tons of money on pricey pine nuts, this recipe is for you! This flavorful pesto uses cashews instead of pine nuts, so you get all the flavor and texture of a delicious homemade pesto, without overspending. This flavorful and easy pesto recipe goes great with just about any pasta, and also makes a great sandwich spread or mix in to soups and more!

cashew basil pesto

What goes into the Cashew Basil Pesto?

To make the pesto, you will need:

  • Fresh basil leaves. You’ll want to really pack each cup, for tons of basil flavor.
  • Dry roasted and salted cashews. Since the cashews are already salted, use salt sparingly.
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese. Go for the good stuff here for the best flavor. I opt for a wedge that I grate myself before adding to the food processor. If you want this recipe to be vegan, you can omit this.
  • Some fresh garlic cloves. These go in peeled and whole.
  • The juice of half a lemon. Use a medium sized, juicy lemon. You’re looking for about a tablespoon of juice.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste. Adjust salt as needed depending on whether or nut you are using salted cashews.
  • Plenty of extra virgin olive oil. Use a high quality olive oil for the best flavor.
using the food processor

Preparing the pesto

To make the cashew pesto recipe, start by adding the basil leaves, cashews, garlic, parmesan, lemon juice and salt and pepper to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the ingredients until they are well ground and homogenous, then stream in the olive oil with the food processor running. Once the pesto is smooth, it’s ready to go!

Why use cashews instead of pine nuts?

Cashews have a great texture and flavor, and are a fraction of the price of traditionally used pine nuts. This way, you can make fresh pesto at home, and not break the bank. I prefer to use roasted and salted cashews for this recipe, but you could use unsalted as well, and season to taste.

blending the pesto in the food processor with olive oil

What to serve with the pesto

This pesto goes great tossed with warm pasta (or cold pasta salads), or spread onto toast or garlic bread! It also makes a great mix into soup and eggs! This pesto would also make a great addition to a cream sauce, or a spread on sandwiches and grilled cheeses!

Storing the pesto

You can store the pesto in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container. If you want to loosen it up before serving, try stirring in a little extra olive oil.

If you choose to freeze it, it will store much better if you omit the parmesan cheese. You can freeze the pesto in ice cube trays, then transfer to a freezer bag until ready to use. For best flavor, use frozen pesto in 2 months.

Looking for more recipe inspiration?

Try one of these great recipes!

Try Sun Dried Tomato Pesto for a fun twist on the classic.

Use leftover pesto to make a Prosciutto Pesto Frittata.

Whip up some Juicy Pesto Chicken Burgers!

Toss a dollop into some Italian Minestrone Soup.

Want to save this recipe for later? Pin it!

pesto pasta

Never miss a recipe? Sign up today!

cashew pesto with basil

Made this Cashew Pesto recipe? Give it a review and rating below!

Easy Cashew Basil Pesto

Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Servings: 4


  • 3 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves 
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted salted cashews 
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • the juice of half a lemon 
  • salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • 1. Add the basil leaves, cashews, garlic, parmesan, lemon juice and salt and pepper to the bowl of a food processor.
    2. Pulse the ingredients until they are well ground and homogenous, pressing down the sides as needed.
    3. Stream in the olive oil with the food processor running until smooth!

© Jawns I Cooked. All images & content are the sole property of Jawns I Cooked. Please ask permission prior to using my photos. If you would like to share one of my recipes, please link back to this post and re-write the instructions in your own words.