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Presto! Pesto! The Art Of Veganizing Stuff

Presto! Pesto! The Art Of Veganizing Stuff

Today we are going to veganize a recipe from one of my favorite blogs, The Art Of Doing Stuff. I know, this IS exciting stuff! Karen has been blogging for years and years, and TAODS is one of the first blogs I ever followed. She is blog royalty, and if you don't know her and haven't read any of her stuff yet, you should. So drop everything you're doing and go there. Um... hold on there, I mean after you're done reading my stuff first, lol! But really, she is so talented. She is hilarious, creative, and well, she is always busy doing stuff. 

 I recently read a really, really old post of Karen's about making a cream based pesto, called Presto! Pesto!. I LOVE pesto sauces, and I make all different types. From the standard basil with parsley, to cilantro with spinach, to dill with kale pesto, (and every combo in between!) I've never met one I haven't loved and they are usually somewhere in my weekly rotation. But I never even thought about making a cream based pesto. And Karen has a way of making things look so delicious, I knew I had to try this one too. And I had to try to veganize it. I pretty much look at every non-vegan recipe that I fall in love with that way. I'm always trying to figure out how to make it so I can enjoy it too. Do you do that? Another awesome thing about this recipe is you can freeze it. So, this winter when you're covered in blankets and your teeth are chattering from the cold, and instead of dreaming of sugarplums you are  dreaming of all the garden fresh flavors you've been missing, you can dig around in your freezer to find this amazing fresh summer pesto. We live in amazing times, don't we? 

This is the also the first time I have attempted to veganized a bechamel sauce. Not only did I use animal-free dairy, but I used garbanzo flour too. And it worked beautifully! The flavors are much lighter than a normal pesto sauce. It came out super creamy, but at the same time it wasn't heavy, and I might try to bump up some flavors next time I make this by maybe adding more basil or some spicy peppers in the blending process. Here is the vegan version of Karen's Presto! Pesto! dish:

Vegan Version of Presto! Pesto!


  • 1 Cup basil (packed - I think I will add more next time, maybe up to 2 cups)
  • 1 Cup loosely chopped kale (Karen's recipe called for parsley, but you can also use spinach too)
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • 5 Cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 Cup of walnuts (The original recipe called for pine nuts)
  • 1/4 Cup of nutritional yeast (Instead of Parmasan cheese!)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 1/2 TBS vegan margarine (I used Earth's Best)
  • 1/4 Cup garbanzo flour (Instead of white all-pupose flour)
  • 2 1/2 Cups plant milk, I used almond
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg


  1. Firstly, start a boiling pot of water for pasta, and follow directions on the package. 
  2. In a food processor, add basil, kale, lemon juice and garlic and blend
  3. Add nutritional yeast, walnuts, salt & pepper and oil and blend again.

4. In a cast iron skillet, melt margarine, adding flour after it has melted.

5. Whisking constantly, incorporate flour and margarine.

6. Start adding plant milk, continue whisking to remove lumps of flour. 

7. Bring to a soft boil, and let thicken.

8. When bechamel is thickened enough, add pesto ingredients, whisking altogether.

9. Serve with pasta and fresh tomatoes on top.

And that, my friend, is how we veganize it!

Benefit Your Health And You'll Benefit Your Life

Benefit Your Health And You'll Benefit Your Life

All You Need Is What You Have

All You Need Is What You Have