Is Pesto Sauce Vegan?

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Pesto sauce is almost never vegan.

I must have looked at the ingredients of over 20 pesto sauces on popular online stores, and almost all were clearly not vegan.

The most common issue is that most contain cheese.

For example:

  • Naturamica Large Italian Genovese Pesto Sauce – Cheese
  • Jamie Oliver Green Pesto – Cheese
  • Classico Traditional Basil Pesto Sauce – Cheese

They also usually have lactic acid. Even though most lactic acid is vegan, there’s a chance that it’s not.

Vegan Pesto Sauce Brands

Unfortunately, I couldn’t come up with much for you here.

I’m sure there must be some out there, but you’re going to have to hunt for one.

The only one that I found that does appear to be vegan is Barilla Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Pesto Sauce and Spread, one of the many vegan foods you can find at Walmart.

barilla pesto that is not vegan

Here’s the ingredients list:

  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Onions
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Salt
  • Garlic
  • Sugar
  • Oregano
  • Capers

Most of those are clearly vegan ingredients, the only one that might not be vegan is the sugar.

I’ll let you decide if you’re okay with that risk.

Alternatively, Make Your Own Vegan Pesto

minimalist baker's vegan pesto

While it’s a bit of work, making your own vegan pesto at home isn’t that difficult.

Here are 3 vegan pesto recipes. They all have pretty similar ingredients, but just to give you a few options:

If you do manage to find a good store-bought vegan pesto brand, feel free to share it in the comments below.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.

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