5 BEST Pesto Sauce Substitutes in Recipes

Have you ever marveled at the intense and vibrant taste of pesto sauce?

Whether you’re looking for a tasty way to top your favorite pasta dish, a savory addition to steak, or just an extra flavor boost for some roasted vegetables, pesto is the perfect solution.

This magical Italian condiment is made up of spinach, basil, and garlic.

However, it can also include nuts and cheese.

While incredibly delicious as is, there are five substitutes you can use in place of traditional pesto sauce, all worthy of receiving the same attention.

Dive into cooking great recipes while learning how these different ingredients and techniques elevate any meal.

What’s Pesto Sauce?

Pesto sauce is a classic Italian condiment that adds flavor and pizzazz to many recipes.

Utilizing the flavor of fresh basil, a variety of nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil, this simple yet delicious dish has become an undeniable favorite.

The combination of these ingredients gives it a unique taste with hints of cheesy nuttiness that almost melts in your mouth as you enjoy it.

When making pesto sauce, it can be blended into a creamy or chunky texture as desired.

It is most often used on top of pasta dishes but is also very popular when spread over pizza crusts or added to grilled meats and salads.

To prepare pesto sauce at home, simply pulse together all ingredients in a food processor until desired consistency is achieved.

Once made, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze for up to 8 months.

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5 BEST Pesto Sauce Substitutes in Recipes

If you’re in the mood for an Italian-inspired meal, pesto sauce may be the first thing that comes to mind.

But what if you don’t have pesto sauce on hand? Don’t worry – there are plenty of delicious alternatives.

Here are five of our favorite pesto substitutes that will give your recipes a delicious and flavorful kick.

1 – Basil Walnut Spread

Basil Walnut Spread is the perfect dip for any occasion.

Whether you’re hosting a party or just snacking, this flavorful vegan spread will be sure to tantalize your taste buds and impress your guests.

The ingredients are simple but effective – basil leaves, walnuts, garlic, olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt come together to form a fragrant pesto-like puree that is packed with flavor.

It tastes both sweet from the basil and earthy from the walnuts; it has a thick consistency that can be used as a spread for toast or crackers.

To prepare, simply blitz all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

This vegan alternative makes an excellent replacement for traditional pesto sauce, so why not give it a try?

2 – Basil Oil

Basil oil is a fragrant and flavorful condiment prepared traditionally with just basil and oil, but it can also include finely chopped garlic or other seasonings.

This savory and aromatic oil has an intense taste that complements sauces, salads, and marinades equally well.

Its complex herbal flavor is similar to pesto sauce but with a thinner texture, ideal for drizzling over pasta or roasts.

To make your own basil oil at home, gently heat extra-virgin olive oil in a saucepan along with fresh basil leaves until the leaves are lightly cooked.

Then allow the mixture to cool before straining and bottling it.

Alternatively, you can use this fragrant and flavorful oil as a pesto sauce substitute for pizzas, bruschetta, and ravioli dishes.

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3 – Avocado Sauce

The avocado sauce is a flavorful and creamy topping that elevates any dish to something special.

It is an incredibly versatile condiment with origins in Mexico, so it has the perfect amount of spice and heat to tantalize your taste buds.

The avocado sauce has the texture of pesto with a little bit of tang since it uses fresh lime juice as its acid.

To make this delicious and fresh avocado sauce, all you need are avocados, garlic, jalapenos, and lime juice – combine these ingredients in a blender or food processor until they form an even paste.

This tasty and zesty sauce can also be substituted for pesto in Italian dishes like pasta or pizza to give them an extra spicy kick.

Incorporating avocado sauce into your cooking repertoire is sure to add flavor and excitement to your meals.

4 – Use a Variety of Nuts

If you’re looking for a unique way to spruce up any dish, consider using a variety of nuts.

There are so many delicious options, such as almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, and pecans, that can add a surprising crunch and flavor to your plate.

Not only do these nuts taste delicious, but the texture is second-to-none.

For instance, when used to make pesto sauce, almonds offer an earthy taste, while cashews add a richness that cannot be beaten.

With just a handful of ingredients, you can turn these nuts into a meal full of exciting textures and flavors – simply grind them down with oil and salt, then use them on pasta dishes or as a spread on toast.

And with such a wide nut varieties available, you can get creative with swapping different types in order to further customize your culinary creation.

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5 – Change Up the Cheese

If you’re looking to switch up the usual cheese in your favorite Italian dish, consider adding Taleggio cheese.

This soft Italian cow’s milk cheese is both pungent and creamy, with a fruity, slightly acidic taste that stands out when melted.

What really sets this cheese apart is its unique texture; it’s incredibly smooth and spreadable while retaining a firmness that lends itself well to cutting and grating.

To replace pesto sauce on your favorite pasta dish, simply mix equal parts of Taleggio and ricotta or mascarpone cheese with a bit of olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper.

Not only does this hybrid mixture offer a modern twist to classic recipes, but it also provides an unbeatable combination of rich creaminess and salty tang – perfect for any cheesy craving.


In conclusion, there are a variety of creative and unique alternatives to pesto sauce that can be used in your favorite recipes.

Whether you are looking for something more herbaceous, like basil oil, or something creamy and cheesy, such as Taleggio cheese, these options will add flavor and texture to any dish.

Furthermore, using nuts like almonds or cashews is an excellent way to lend extra crunch to your meal while also packing in healthy fats and proteins.

With these five alternatives to pesto sauce, you can take your cooking up a notch and embrace the exciting world of creative Italian cuisine.

5 BEST Pesto Sauce Substitutes in Recipes

5 BEST Pesto Sauce Substitutes in Recipes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 – Basil Walnut Spread
  • 2 – Basil Oil
  • 3 – Avocado Sauce
  • 4 – Use a Variety of Nuts
  • 5 – Change Up the Cheese


  1. Choose a preferred substitute from the provided list.
  2. Follow the cooking instructions for the selected substitute.
  3. Use the correct proportion of ingredients when preparing the substitute.

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