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white bowl with creamy vegan pesto sauce. Bowls of pasta on right and in background. Green napkin and fresh basil in front

Vegan Creamy Pesto Pasta

Author: Janet Harlow
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American/Italian
Servings: 4 servings
This vegan creamy pesto pasta has just a few ingredients and comes together in the time that it takes to cook the pasta.
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 17 mins


  • 4 servings your favorite gluten-free pasta
  • c vegan pesto see recipe below or use store-bought
  • c dairy-free yogurt
  • ¼ c pasta water
  • garnish and topping - your choice of chopped fresh tomato basil, olives, walnuts, marinated artichoke, vegan parmesan (Violife is excellent)


  • 2 Tbsp chopped nuts almonds, walnuts, pine nuts
  • 1 small garlic clove more if you love garlic, or leave it out
  • 2 packed Tbsp finely grated vegan parmesan
  • 1 tightly packed cup of fresh basil thick stems removed
  • 1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pinches salt


  • Fill a 4 quart or larger pot with water, 3/4 full, and add 1 Tbsp kosher salt.
  • Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the pasta when the water boils and cook as directed on the package.
  • I highly recommend Barilla Gluten-Free Pasta. It cooks al dente and is not overly starchy or mushy.
  • While the water is heating and the pasta is cooking, make the pesto (if not using prepared) and prepare the toppings,

Make the Pesto

  • Add the nuts and garlic to a blender or food processor. This mini food processor is my favorite tool for pesto. Run on high until very finely chopped.
  • Add the vegan cheese (best if grated with a microplane) and run to combine.
  • Add the basil and oil. Run on high until it forms a paste.
  • Add 2 pinches salt and run for a few seconds. Taste. Depending on the saltiness of your vegan cheese, you may need to add more. Add a pinch or 2 at a time.

Assemble the Dish

  • Mix ⅓ c of the pesto with the yogurt.
  • When the pasta is cooked to al dente, ladle out 1/2 cup of the water into a measuring cup. Drain the remaining water.
  • Put the drained pasta back into the pot. Add the pesto/yogurt mixture and just 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Stir over very low heat until the pasta is coated. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little more pasta water.
  • Dip a spoon into the sauce and taste. Add a pinch or 2 of salt, if needed and pepper, if desired.
  • Plate the pasta and top with chopped tomato and basil and your other favorite toppings.
Did you make this recipe?Let me know how it was! Tag @chefjanetk on Instagram.