As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

How to make super creamy and delicious 7-ingredient avocado pesto, perfect for sandwiches, wraps, pizza, and a quick and nutritious 15-minute avocado pesto pasta. + Oil-free and nut-free variations included!

completed Amazing Avocado Pesto Pasta plated against a light surface

Creamy, Wholesome 7-Ingredient Avocado Basil Pesto (with Pasta)

If guacamole and basil pesto were to have a child, this dreamy, creamy avocado pesto would be it. While we’re no strangers to sneaking avocado into all sorts (like chocolate avocado pudding and vegan milkshakes), we think this avocado basil pesto may be a stroke of genius—especially when paired with pasta to make a simple, quick, and nutritious mid-week meal!

With ingredients like high-quality parmesan and pine nuts, pesto isn’t known for being particularly frugal (or vegan), which is why we love turning our hands to inexpensive and diet-friendly alternatives like parsley pesto with arugula, vegan basil sunflower seed pesto, and now this avocado basil pesto.

Avocados are loaded with heart-healthy fats (and antioxidants—yay) and a creamy richness that adds a wonderfully silky, moreish element to the homemade pesto and makes it one of our most-used pesto recipes yet. Our current favorite, though, is to add just a couple of extra steps to turn it into creamy avocado pesto pasta.

Best of all, the process is so simple, just toss everything in a food processor or blender while the pasta cooks, combine, and in just 10-15 minutes, you have a delicious meal that’s creamy, affordable, easy to make, and full of flavor.

The Ingredients

This basil avocado pesto requires just 7 simple pantry staples (plus salt and pepper). It’s already naturally dairy-free, whole30, low-carb, and vegan, and with simple ingredient swaps, you can also make it oil-free or nut-free.

ingredients for Amazing Avocado Pesto Pasta measured out against a white surface
  • Avocado: Use a good-quality, ripe to over-ripe avocado. If it’s under-ripe, the basil avocado pesto may turn out bitter.
  • Basil: You’ll need plenty of fresh basil leaves (no stems).
  • Nuts/Seeds: We usually use unsalted walnuts or pistachios. However, you could go nut-free with raw sunflower seeds or hemp seeds.
  • Olive oil: Use good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, for a silky, smooth texture.

Since avocado is already adding heart-healthy fats, feel free to omit the oil and use water (or vegetable broth) instead to thin the avocado pesto sauce to your desired consistency.

  • Garlic: No pesto is complete without garlic. Use roasted garlic for a mellower flavor and adjust to taste. Use garlic powder in a pinch (to taste).
  • Lemon juice: We prefer fresh lemon juice, but bottled works, too. For extra zing, add some lemon zest. Adjust the amounts to taste.
  • Cumin: (optional) To add extra flavor depth to the avocado basil pesto.
  • Salt & Black pepper: Season to taste.

To make avocado pesto pasta, you’ll also need the pasta of your choice (regular or gluten-free pasta). Alternatively, gnocchi would also work, or go low-carb with zucchini noodles.

How To Substitute Basil In Pesto?

You could use several other greens in this avocado pesto recipe, including parsley, baby spinach, baby kale, arugula, or a combination of greens. You can also reduce food waste by using carrot greens, beet greens, etc.

What Else Could I Add?

  • Nutritional yeast: To add ‘cheesy’ flavor in place of parmesan cheese, add nutritional yeast. It’s nutty, ‘cheesy’, and packed with umami flavor.
  • Red pepper flakes/ chili: To add some spice.

How to Make 5-Minute Avocado Pesto?

  • 1) Add the nuts to a food processor or high-powered blender and pulse until the nuts are broken down to a medium-fine crumb.
  • 2) Add the avocado, basil, garlic, cumin, and process. While it blends, slowly drizzle in the oil. Stop to scrape down the sides as needed.
  • 3) Give it a taste and adjust any elements (garlic, salt, pepper, etc.), adding lemon juice to taste.

To Make Creamy Avocado Pesto Pasta:

  • 1) Cook your pasta of choice according to the directions on its packaging while preparing the avocado pesto.
  • 2) Reserve one cup of pasta water and then toss the pasta and pesto together, adding the pasta water to thin the pesto and help it cling to the pasta.
process shot of avocado pesto being added to noodles
  • 3) Optionally add a drizzle of fresh lemon juice and some more salt and pepper to the dish to garnish. Enjoy!

What Else Could I Add To Pesto Pasta?

Make it more of a complete meal with protein like chickpeas or tofu/tempeh. Alternatively, add more flavor and color with fresh, sautéed, or roasted vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini, peas, broccoli, bell peppers, eggplant, etc.  

Recipe Notes

  • Frugal top tip: Growing herbs (like basil) is a great way to save money. Pick off the leaves you need and allow them to replenish.
  • For oilfree avocado pesto: Use water or vegetable broth instead.
  • To make a pasta salad: Cook the pasta in advance and allow it to cool before adding the pesto and any additional veggies.
  • Adjust the consistency: Thin it to your desired level with water or vegetable broth (i.e., for dipping vs. drizzling).
  • Adjust the texture: Process/blend to your desired consistency.
  • Tweak to taste: Adjust the amount of garlic, lemon, salt & pepper, etc.
completed Amazing Avocado Pesto Pasta plated against a light surface

Storage Instructions

Recipes with fresh avocado don’t tend to store very well, as the avocado flesh browns when oxidized. Luckily, lemon juice can help to prevent this for a short while, and you can store this vegan avocado pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for between 2-3 days (maybe even longer, if you’re lucky and follow the below tip).

Keep it from browning for as long as possible by either pressing plastic wrap directly to the top of the pesto or covering it with a thin layer of olive oil or water.

You can also freeze any leftovers. Spoon 1-2 tablespoon portions into an ice cube tray (optionally covered with a thin layer of olive oil) and freeze until solid, then transfer the cubes to a Ziplock/Stasher bag to store for between 3-4 months.

Serving Suggestions

Along with enjoying bowls of creamy avocado pesto pasta, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy this vegan pesto, including:

You can also thin it out with water or vegetable broth and drizzle it over or toss it into salads like a leafy green salad, potato salad, or vegan Caprese.

completed avocado pesto plated on a white plate against a white background

More Vegan Sauces and Dressings

You might also enjoy our simple guide to avocado.

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

Amazing Avocado Pesto Pasta

4.94 from 61 votes
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings
How to make super creamy and delicious 7-ingredient avocado pesto, perfect for sandwiches, wraps, pizza, and a quick and nutritious 15-minute avocado pesto pasta. + Oil-free and nut-free variations included!

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup of pistachios (walnuts will work too)
  • 2 large very ripe avocados
  • 2 ounces of fresh basil leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • cup of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pasta of your choice
  • ¼ fresh lemon

Instructions 

  • In a medium pot over medium-high heat, cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.
  • While the pasta cooks, add the pistachios to the bowl of a food processor or high-powered blender and pulse until the nuts are broken down.
  • Add the avocados, basil, garlic, cumin to the bowl of the processor and wiz it on high. While the pesto is forming, slowly add the oil to the mix. Stop and scrape down the sides and taste. Add any salt or pepper at this time.
  • Drain your pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta and pesto in a large mixing bowl and toss around. Use the pasta water to thin out the pesto and a drizzle of fresh lemon juice, a little more salt and pepper to top it off.

Video

Notes

  • Frugal top tip: Growing herbs (like basil) is a great way to save money. Pick off the leaves you need and allow them to replenish.
  • For oilfree avocado pesto: Use water or vegetable broth instead.
  • To make a pasta salad: Cook the pasta in advance and allow it to cool before adding the pesto and any additional veggies.
  • Adjust the consistency: Thin it to your desired level with water or vegetable broth (i.e., for dipping vs. drizzling).

Nutrition

Calories: 456kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 11gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 22gSodium: 20mgPotassium: 902mgFiber: 11gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1029IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 83mgIron: 3mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: David Sterkel
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Method: Stovetop
Diet: Vegan
Keywords: avocado pesto, avocado pesto pasta recipe, citrus, fresh pasta, gluten free, healthy lunch, how to make pesto, lemon, pasta, pasta avocado pesto, pesto pasta, pesto recipe, plant-based, soy free, vegan dinner, vegan lunch, vegan pesto, vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

David Sterkel

Plant based foodie, running, cooking, trash TV- all things that describe me! I enjoy cooking quick and easy meals that are healthy and inexpensive. Happy reading!

More about David Sterkel

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I already like pasta with just avocado, lemon juice and a few spices. This recipe with the pistachios takes the dish to the next level