3 Step Quinoa Pesto

This quinoa pesto recipe is easy as 1 2 3!

quinoa pesto

I have such a love for pesto. The savory flavor profile from pine nuts and basil, and how it adds instant flavor to any dish I use it in. The one problem I’ve been coming across when eating pesto while dining out or when shopping for pre-made pesto, is the sodium levels. I’m telling you my eyes bulge out every time I read the label.

Traditional pesto recipes call for Parmesan cheese (one of my cheese weaknesses). Since I eat primarily vegan when I cook at home, I’m being creative and using nutritional yeast as my only “cheese” impersonator. 

I made a low sodium pesto recipe before (you can see it here) and made Parmesan cheese an optional ingredient. Now I challenge you to create this recipe completely dairy free too! I took my original pesto recipe one step further and added quinoa into my batch. Since I shop at Trader Joes, I discovered their pesto and quinoa condiment and was curious to try it out. I was happy to see that it wasn’t ridiculously high in sodium, but it does contain two different types of cheeses. 

To make my own vegan version, I stayed away from dairy and opted for my trusty nutritional yeast. The robust taste from the pine nuts and basil also balance out the recipe. I make quite large batches of this so that I can add it to my salads and protein bowls. If I can recommend one small step this week to a balanced babe diet, it’s to cook in large quantities. Make your plant based recipes in large batches so that you save more time the rest of the week! This quinoa pesto recipe can truly be a great one to make in batches as it can be really addicting, too. 

I actually made this quinoa pesto, green juice, vegan tomato sauce and a hearty lentil soup in batch this week since I’m on the run quite a lot the next couple of days. By prepping and cooking on Sunday nights (while listening to Frank Sinatra), I don’t have the stress of figuring out what to eat when my schedule is hectic. This week is especially jam packed as I’m preparing content and workshops for our Spring Awakening Retreat at Four Seasons Chicago, and a holistic business strategy workshop taking place this Thursday! Actually, if any of our readers are from Chicago or the surrounding area, you may find my Digital Marketing Workshop for Wellness Businesses up your alley. It’s this Thursday from 4-6pm at ICNC and I’ll be doing a hands on class about positioning yourself as a lifestyle brand, and how to create digital marketing strategies to appeal to the health conscious consumer. If you want to learn more about it you can do so here!

Anyways, on to the recipe! 

quinoa pesto


Quinoa Pesto 

Serves 4


  • 4 cups of cooked quinoa
  • 1 package of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups pine nuts
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice from 1/2 lemon


  1. Cook your quinoa according to package instructions
  2. In a blender, blend the basil, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, garlic, olive oil and lemon
  3. Pulse ingredients in the blender until well mixed
  4. Fold in the pesto mixture with the quinoa once the quinoa is cooked and drained
  5. Serve by itself, topped on a salad, or on top of zucchini noodles and enjoy!

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