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Pesto in a Mortar and Pestle - Plant-Based Version

Have you ever made real pesto from scratch with a mortar and pestle? In today's post I'll share my plant-based version of the recipe as well as the process for making pesto by hand!

Course sauce
Cuisine Italian, vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes


  • 1 large bunch Fresh basil leaves (about 1.5-2-ish cups of leaves)
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3 tbsp Pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp Nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil


  1. Add salt and garlic to the bowl of the mortar and pestle. Grind the garlic until it forms a paste.

  2. Working in small batches, add in basil leaves and crush into the garlic/salt mixture, adding more leaves as one batch becomes incorporated.

  3. Add in the pine nuts and grind them in as well.

  4. Add the nutritional yeast and stir/grind everything together in a circular motion.

  5. Stir in the olive oil and top with more olive oil to store the pesto and prevent browning.