Creamy pesto sauce/dip. {Vegan} {Gluten Free}

My oldest asked for pesto on Monday.  My plan was to make an avocado cream pasta but I quickly adjusted my sails to accommodate.  I’ve felt overly compassionate for her as we are now working on week 3 of a dairy & gluten free diet.  I had just made my cashew cream (to use for my other planned dinner) and wanted to incorporate it into the pesto.  The result, light and creamy.  Totally vegan, no dairy- and as long as you use gluten free pasta (brown rice, quinoa etc.) this dinner was perfect for her and for everyone else in my family.

I’ve recently discussed on my Instagram that there is an evolution in families across the world where allergies, diet preferences, beliefs etc. are playing critical roles in menu planning in each family.  I became a vegetarian one year ago this month.  It wasn’t for any specific reason.  I sat down one evening for dinner, my husband had grilled some pork and I went to eat it and decided that I didn’t want it anymore.  I never looked back.  I don’t miss bacon, hamburgers, pork, chicken… nothing.  I don’t miss it at all.  My husband became a vegetarian in January as apart of a evolution yoga challenge we were doing.  Once the challenge was over, he remained a vegetarian.  Within the past three months I had given up cheese (my vice) only because I noticed that I was experiencing a lot of stomach issues after I consumed it.  Once I removed the yogurt and cheese, the symptoms went away.  It wasn’t anything against dairy or the wonderful farmer’s that produce it.  From there my oldest had been suffering with cystic acne for years.  After pills, creams and numerous visits to the dermatologist, I realized that the only time she was acne free (for one week) was when she was hospitalized in September.  There was some connection. She wasn’t on any antibiotics during that week and she wasn’t eating because of her stomach pain.  After much research and discussions with nutritional experts – they suggested removing dairy and gluten from her diet for at least 2-3 months to see if that helped.  Within 2 days I noticed her face was changing.  She still had some new breakouts but very few.  Her overall complexion was improving.  We also added a probiotic into her mix at night to help populate her gut with good bacteria while she slept.  We are now awaiting test results for celiac, wheat and dairy allergies or sensitivities.  I’m also very aware that the tests may show nothing and it may land in our laps to experiment to see what it is as these tests aren’t always conclusive.  But after exhaustive research, I’ve learned that your GI tract health is reflected in your completion.  If it’s inflamed and in duress, it would have an outward appearance through your skin.  Logical.  My skin has changed dramatically since I’ve become a vegetarian and then a plant based vegan.  It made sense.

Sorry for going on and on but I believe in sharing information as I know we aren’t the only family out there with these issues.  Now after all of that I also feed two people, my father and my youngest, who have no dietary issues and can eat everything and do!  This is the make-up of our family today.  This is why I created my website.  To share different recipes for every type of person.  For parties you host where people have dietary restrictions.  Or maybe it’s you.  Or your daughter or son who is battling acne.  Just some thoughts on my research.

You can find my cashew cream by clicking here.  I only soaked my raw cashews for about 4 hours this time.  Then follow the instructions in the original recipe.


4 garlic cloves
1 handful of baby spinach leaves (organic)
1 handful of arugula (organic)
1 handful of fresh bail leaves
1/2 cup of walnuts or pistachios (whichever you choose)
Olive oil
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper


Into your food processor add the garlic and pulse until broken down fairly small. Then add the remaining ingredients except for the olive oil. Blend until fairly creamy.  With the machine on, drizzle olive oil through the open spout at the top (fine stream) until the mixture comes together – only take a few seconds.  Avoid using too much oil.  Then season with salt and pepper.  I then add 1/3 cup of the cashew cream to the pesto and pulse a few times until well blended.  You can then use this as a dip for veggies or crackers or toss with hot pasta (and a tiny bit of the cooking liquid) and then serve immediately.


Cashew cream as well as the pesto can be stored in a covered container in your fridge for about  5-7 days.   Cashew cream can be used in either sweet or savory dishes.  It is a blank canvas of flavor.  You can use it where you would normally use dairy cream.  Great thickener for soup or mixed with herbs to make a spread for pizza or dip.

I eat this pesto straight up!  It’s great for a party.  I also use it in lieu of sauce on pizza.

— Knead to Cook

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  1. Love pesto and the addition of cashew cream sounds perfect! Thanks for sharing all that you’ve learned over the past year…so great to see how hard you are working to improve your family’s food (and skin!)