Poor Man's Pesto

It’s almost summertime, which means the basil plants are about to explode. For those of you who grow your own plants, you’ve probably experienced difficulty in finding ways to optimize the large yield. I say make a pesto!

There’s this stigma that pesto is expensive to make; understandably so given the price of pine nuts and quality Parmesan. But no need to avoid making this delicious sauce, I’ve found a solution! This poor man’s pesto (as Carly loves to call it) was inspired by my newfound interest in making more vegan-friendly recipes (while staying within budget). Through trials with friends, I have found that this recipe will not disappoint the cheese-eaters in the group. Pair it with your favorite pasta. Serve it on toast with eggs. Make the BCLK Asparagus-Mushroom Tart. Let your imagination run wild with infinite possibilities.

For this recipe you will need:

  • 2oz basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • Black pepper and Red Chili Flake to taste
  • 2 tsp garlic powder Garlic powder (optional)


Yield: ~4 serving

Step 1: The Pesto (Prep 5-10 min)

Throw everything but the nutritional yeast and seasonings into a food processor or blender and blend until combined.

Add the nutritional yeast and pulse 4-5 times until mixed.

Add pepper and Red Chili Flake to taste.

Given the variation in size and strength of garlic cloves. Feel free to add up to 2 teaspoon of additional garlic powder at the end.

*Stefenism: Feel free to mix it up. For a classic pesto swap the sunflower seeds with pine nuts and nutritional yeast with Parmesan. Try experimenting! For some added nutrients swap the sunflower seeds for walnuts and try half kale half basil*