Savor the Taste of France with Pistou Sauce Recipe

As the famous saying goes, “you are what you eat”, and for me, this couldn’t be more accurate. Being a vegan chef has opened my eyes to a world of ingredients that can be used in rich and diverse ways to create delicious meals. That’s why today, I want to introduce you to one of my favorite recipes – Pistou Sauce or French Pesto.

Pistou sauce is a classic condiment used in Italian and French cuisine as a topping on soups, pasta, and other dishes. It is typically made with fresh basil, garlic cloves, olive oil, and pine nuts. However, in this recipe, we will be making a vegan version without the use of parmesan cheese.

The combination of basil, olive oil, and garlic makes this sauce incredibly flavorful and versatile. It’s the perfect addition to any dish that needs a little extra flavor kick. Plus, this vegan recipe is healthy and easy to make!

Whether you’re new to the world of vegan cooking or looking for new healthy recipes to try, pistou sauce is an excellent recipe for everyone. So let’s dive into the ingredient list and learn how to make this deliciousness from scratch!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Pistou Sauce or French Pesto ( Vegan )
Pistou Sauce or French Pesto ( Vegan )

My dear reader, you may be wondering why you should try this vegan Pistou Sauce or French Pesto recipe. Well, let me tell you that this is not just your ordinary pesto sauce. It is a delightful and savory garlic-condiment used in French pasta dishes and soups.

One of the main reasons why you will love this recipe is that it’s vegan-friendly. Yes, that’s right! You can get an authentic French taste without any animal byproducts. Being vegan doesn’t mean giving up flavor, and this pesto proves just that!

Another reason you will love this recipe is that it’s so versatile. This pistou sauce can be used as a pasta sauce, spread on bread, mixed with veggies, or even used in soups for an extra burst of flavor. The possibilities are endless!

Moreover, this recipe uses fresh basil leaves and pine nuts combined with olive oil to make a smooth and luscious sauce that is perfect for any dish. The ingredients used here are simple yet so full of flavor, making this recipe attainable for anyone who wants to make homemade pesto.

Last but not least, this Pistou Sauce or French Pesto recipe offers a healthier alternative to its traditional Italian counterpart. By using only pure ingredients such as fresh basil leaves and pine nuts instead of parmesan cheese or salt, we’ve made it easier to avoid processed ingredients while still enjoying the robust flavors!

So there you have it – reasons why you should try out this vegan Pistou Sauce or French Pesto recipe today! Enjoy the depth of flavors this recipe offers while feeling good about what you’re eating. Don’t hesitate to give it a try; you won’t regret it!

Ingredient List

 Pure green goodness!
Pure green goodness!

Let me tell you all about the ingredients you’ll need for this vegan pistou sauce recipe. Don’t worry, everything is easy to find and quite simple. You might even have some of these items in your kitchen already! Here’s what you will need:

– 4 cups of fresh basil leaves, packed

Basil is the star ingredient here, so it’s imperative to use freshly picked basil leaves with a sweet and pungent aroma. Basil contains a whole bunch of vitamins and minerals like vitamin K, iron, calcium and potassium that can protect and maintain your body’s health.

– 2 cloves of garlic

Garlic is an important ingredient for its strong aroma and flavor. It can give a nice kick to any dish. Not to mention, it has anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial to our overall health.

– 1/4 cup pine nuts

Pine nuts work well with the earthy and slightly bitter taste of basil. They are also rich in antioxidants, magnesium and protein.

– 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)

This ingredient is optional, but it will add a nice salty flavor to your pesto sauce. If you want to keep your recipe vegan friendly or dairy-free, you can skip this part.

– 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Black pepper will add a subtle spicy flavor to balance out the sweetness of basil.

– 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Coarse salt will bring out the flavors of other ingredients in your sauce. It is also important to use coarse salt instead of table salt as it has less sodium.

– 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

The quality of olive oil matters since it gives fragrance and fruity notes to the sauce. Choose high-quality cold pressed extra virgin olive oil for best results.

– 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)

If you like an extra tangy flavor in your pesto sauce, try adding some lemon juice at the end or replacing some of the olive oil with lemon juice.

Now that you have all your ingredients gathered up let’s move on to how we’ll prepare this delightful pistou sauce recipe!

The Recipe How-To

 The perfect sauce for a warm summer day.
The perfect sauce for a warm summer day.

Let’s start making this delicious Pistou Sauce or French Pesto. I recommend using a food processor or blender to make the sauce as it will result in a creamy texture.


Here are the ingredients you’ll need to create this flavorful Pistou Sauce:

  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon of coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil


  1. Start by putting the basil, garlic, and pine nuts into the food processor.
  2. Add in the coarse salt and black pepper.
  3. Pulse the mixture until it has become finely chopped.
  4. While the processor is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until everything comes together as a smooth sauce.
  5. Taste your Pistou Sauce and adjust with additional salt or pepper according to your preferences.

And that’s it – you have made your very own, vegan Pistou Sauce or French Pesto! This recipe should yield around 1 cup of sauce that can be enjoyed immediately or kept for later use.

Variations and Substitutions

If you’d like to put a twist on this classic Pistou recipe, you can try switching up some of the ingredients. Cashews, walnuts, or even pistachios can replace pine nuts to give unique flavors!

You could also add some parmesan cheese for a more traditional pesto flavor or lemon juice for an extra citrus kick. This recipe is highly versatile so don’t be afraid to experiment and make it deliciously yours!

Serving and Pairing

Pistou sauce pairs excellently with pasta dishes such as vegan lasagna, gnocchi, or spaghetti. You could also stir it into soups like Pistou Soup for an extra boost of flavor.

This French pesto recipe goes well with fresh slices of baguette bread too! Try it out as an appetizer at your next dinner party, served alongside other dips like hummus and Baba Ghanoush.

Make-Ahead, Storing, and Reheating

Save time in the kitchen by making this Pistou Sauce ahead of time! It can easily be prepared up to three days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To serve after being stored in the fridge, let it come to room temperature before using so that its flavor is at its peak again.

Also, consider freezing any extra pesto; you can do so by spooning it into ice cube trays before transferring the pesto cubes to a freezer-safe bag. Frozen Pistou Sauce will stay for up to six months if stored properly.

Tips for Perfect Results

For best results when making a vegan Pistou

Substitutions and Variations

 The vegan French twist on classic pesto.
The vegan French twist on classic pesto.

As with any recipe, there are always substitutions and variations that can be made to suit your personal preferences or dietary needs. Here are a few ideas for this Pistou Sauce or French Pesto recipe:

– Vegan Parmesan: Instead of using traditional Parmesan cheese (which is not vegan), try using vegan Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor without the dairy.

– Different nuts: While pine nuts are the traditional nut used in pesto, you can switch things up with other tasty options like almonds, walnuts or cashews.

– Spice it up: Add some heat to your pistou sauce by adding a pinch of red pepper flakes or chopping up a hot pepper into the mix.

– Lemon juice: For a bright burst of citrus flavor, try adding a squeeze of lemon juice to your pistou sauce.

– Different herbs: While basil is the classic herb used in pesto, feel free to experiment with different herbs such as parsley, cilantro or mint for a unique twist.

By making these substitutions and variations, you can create your own unique version of this classic French sauce while still keeping it vegan and delicious. Enjoy!

Serving and Pairing

 Vibrant, flavorful, and plant-based.
Vibrant, flavorful, and plant-based.

Ah, the joy of finding the perfect sauce for your favourite recipes! If you’re like me and love a good pesto, then you will adore this vegan version of French pistou sauce. Its unique taste of basil and garlic is perfect for those who are looking for a light yet flavourful addition to their dishes.

One of my favourite ways to serve this bright green delight is by drizzling it over some pasta, such as linguine or spaghetti. The sauce perfectly coats the pasta and really enhances the flavours! It’s also an excellent topping for homemade pizzas – just spread it on your dough before adding your favourite toppings! Trust me, this will take your pizza game to a whole new level!

But that’s not all – there are plenty of other ways that you can pair this versatile sauce. For example, you can use it as a dip for bread, crackers or sliced vegetables. It’s also a fantastic marinade for tofu or grilled vegetables if you’re looking for a new twist on plant-based protein.

The beauty of this vegan pesto is that it can be used on just about anything! I personally love adding it to salads or using it to accentuate a sandwich (think roasted vegetables and hummus with our green friend). The possibilities are truly endless!

If you’re feeling adventurous, try using this sauce in classic French pasta dishes such as soupe au pistou or stir into a hot soup before serving. You won’t regret it!

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get creative! Happy eating my friends- Enjoy!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The ultimate condiment for pasta, salads or roasted veggies.
The ultimate condiment for pasta, salads or roasted veggies.

As tempting as it may be to devour an entire batch of Pistou sauce freshly made, this recipe is a great option for meal prepping or making ahead of time. Luckily, the sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

When reheating, avoid using high heat, as it may cause the oil to separate. Instead, slowly reheat the sauce over low heat and stir frequently until warmed through. If you find that your sauce has thickened up in the fridge, don’t worry – simply add a splash of olive oil or lemon juice to thin it out.

If freezing the Pistou is more your style, ensure it’s put in a freezer-safe container and frozen within 3 days of preparing it. A great hack for freezing Pistou is to portion the sauce out into an ice cube tray! Once frozen solid, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag and use as needed.

Keeping variations and homemade dips such as pistou on hand is a lifesaver when it comes to weeknight meals. With just a little bit of effort and planning ahead of time, you can have one less thing to worry about in your busy day-to-day life!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Taking vegan condiments to the next level.
Taking vegan condiments to the next level.

As a seasoned vegan chef, I want you to make the best possible Pistou Sauce or French Pesto (vegan) using this recipe. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you get perfect results every time you whip up this fresh and fragrant herb sauce.

1. Use high-quality ingredients

When making Pistou Sauce, use only the freshest and high-quality ingredients available. The basil leaves should be fresh and fragrant, the pine nuts should be toasted to bring out their natural flavors, and the garlic cloves should be juicy and firm.

2. Roast your garlic

For a milder garlic flavor, roast your garlic cloves before blending them into the Pistou Sauce. Wrap the unpeeled cloves in aluminum foil and roast them in the oven at 400°F for about 20-25 minutes until they’re soft and golden brown.

3. Toast the nuts

Toasting the pine nuts brings out their nutty flavor and gives them a crispy texture. Heat a dry skillet over medium heat, add the pine nuts, and toast them for about 3-4 minutes until they’re golden brown. Be sure to stir frequently to avoid burning.

4. Use coarse salt and black pepper

Using coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper enhances the flavors of the Pistou Sauce. Be generous with both, but taste as you go to ensure you don’t overdo it.

5. Add lemon juice

Lemon juice is a great addition to Pistou Sauce as it helps brighten up its flavors while adding a nice acidic tanginess. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice at a time until you reach your desired level of acidity.

6. Use a blender or food processor

Using a blender or food processor will give you smoother results than if you try to chop everything by hand. Be mindful not to over blend because doing so may result in an unpleasant texture.

By following these tips, your Pistou Sauce will turn out delicious every time!


As with any recipe, it is natural to have questions about the pistou sauce or French pesto. In this section, I will address some of the most common inquiries from inexperienced cooks to help you navigate through this vegan recipe smoothly. Let’s dive right in!

Is pistou the same as pesto?

Pesto and Pistou are similar condiments made with basil, olive oil, and garlic that are commonly used in Italian and French cuisine respectively. The key distinction between the two is that the Italian version contains pine nuts while the French version does not.

What is the difference between normal pesto and vegan pesto?

While the traditional pesto recipe is not vegan-friendly due to the inclusion of dairy products like parmesan cheese, it is possible to whip up an equally delicious vegan version by swapping out a few ingredients. Simply omit the cheese and experiment with different flavor combinations to create a tasty pesto that everyone can enjoy.

Which pesto is vegan?

Our Free-From Basil Pesto recipe is both dairy-free and gluten-free while still retaining its authentic taste and texture. Rather than simply removing ingredients, our recipe uses clever ingredient swaps to create a delicious and flavorful pesto that everyone can enjoy.

What is vegan pesto made of?

Let’s start with the foundation of this recipe – we’ll be using some fresh and aromatic basil, combined with pine nuts and garlic. To add a touch of tanginess and liveliness, a splash of lemon juice will be added. For that sought-after cheesy essence, we will be making use of nutritional yeast, a type of yeast that can be quite rich in B12, depending on which brand you use.

Bottom Line

After reading about this vegan Pistou Sauce or French Pesto recipe, I am sure you are convinced of its versatility and deliciousness. Not only is it healthy and gluten-free, but it can also add a touch of sophistication to your meals.

This recipe offers endless possibilities for pairing it with different types of pasta, soup, and as a condiment to add extra flavor to your dishes. Whether you’re a seasoned vegan or simply looking for a new and exciting recipe variation, this vegan French pesto is the perfect addition to any pantry.

So what are you waiting for? Pick up the ingredients from your local store and try making this Pistou sauce today. Once you are familiar with the recipe, you can experiment with substitutions and variations to suit your taste buds.

In conclusion, this Pistou sauce will become an all-time favorite in your kitchen as it is tasty, easy to make, highly versatile and healthy. Give it a try today!

Pistou Sauce or French Pesto ( Vegan )

Pistou Sauce or French Pesto ( Vegan ) Recipe

Pistou is the French version of pesto - there are no pine nuts and commonly the parmesan cheese is replaced with coarse salt. Use this any way you'd normally use Italian pesto! Adapted from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen, by Donna Klein. This recipe was picked for the Freeze It recipe tag game, and I've added the OAMC instructions from Chef Mommy Needs Coffee and the OAMC Forum below.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Servings 3 cup
Calories 345.7 kcal


  • 1 cup fresh basil, packed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • black pepper, to taste


  • Combine everything in a food processor and process until smooth.
  • Alternatively, you can finely chop the basil and mix it with the other ingredients.
  • Serve on bread, pasta or pizza.
  • OAMC --- To freeze: Place in a quart sized freezer bag. Seal, label and freeze.
  • To thaw: place in fridge overnight or place bag in a bowl of room temperature water for a few minutes.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 81gCalories: 345.7kcalCarbohydrates: 5.2gProtein: 2gFat: 36.4gSaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 779.5mgFiber: 2.4gSugar: 0.2g
Keyword < 15 Mins, Beginner Cook, Easy, European, Free Of..., Greens, Low Protein, No-Cook, Sauces, Savory, Small Appliance, Spreads, Spring, Summer, Vegan, Vegetable
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