Oregano Pesto has a bolder flavor than the traditional basil pesto. I use pecans to bring out a little smoky flavor, but you can use the nut or seed of your choice. If you are nut free you can leave them out and there is an oil-free option too!
It’s getting hotter so it’s time for some dinners that don’t take all day to cook. When I get tired of salads I always turn to a quick pasta. Last night I tossed it with some Vegan Oregano Pesto.
I’m lucky that one of my stove burners has a quick boil setting, so the water’s ready for the pasta before I know it. We also have a burner on the grill, but it’s so hot on the deck around dinner time that I haven’t used it yet. Maybe this will be the year we finally try it.
How Can I Use Fresh Oregano?
You’ll only be able to harvest fresh oregano from your garden during warmer weather. But now you can always buy some fresh at the supermarket. Even our large farmers market has a stall that grows herbs year round in their greenhouse.
What Recipes Can I Make with Fresh Oregano?
This pesto of course, but you can go beyond that and add fresh oregano leaves to the top of homemade pizzas. Use them in
How Can I Dry Fresh Oregano?
The most traditional way is to harvest it, rubber band the stems together and hang upside down for it to dry out.
Another option is to place the oregano in your dehydrator. Either way, once dry crumble the leaves off and use like any other dried oregano.
Why Make Vegan Oregano Pesto?
You can make pesto out of just about any herb. Basil is the traditional way to go and I love using lemon basil from my garden to give it a twist.
This year I planted a smaller amount of herbs, so I don’t have the wide variety of basils that I usually do. However, I have a giant pot of oregano that thrived over the cold winter much better than I ever thought it would.
I’ve been giving it away as gifts, drying some of it for cold weather, and I still have tons of it to use. That’s why I chose to make a pesto from it.
Why Use Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast gives this pesto a cheesy flavor that reminds me of a non-vegan pesto. In traditional pesto Parmesan cheese is used, and you could add a vegan version to this instead or in addition to nutritional yeast.
What If I Don’t Have Any Pecans?
If you don’t have any pecans in your pantry, feel free to substitute for another nut, maybe even sunflower seeds.
But I Don’t Eat Nuts of Any Kind!
If you have an allergy or just don’t do well with nuts there’s always a substitute! You could use seeds like sunflower or pumpkin to add in some bulk.
If seeds don’t fit in your diet either, you can add extra bulk with mild greens and/or more fresh oregano. Just remember the more herbs you add the stronger the oregano pesto will be.
Why Use a Small Food Processor?
When making a pesto I like to use my small food processor. My large food processor and my blender are not great tools for small amounts like this.
Is There a Way to Make This in a Large Food Processor?
If you don’t have a small food processor, you can double or triple the recipe. It will freeze, although it will change color a bit. You can cover the top with a thin layer of olive oil to keep the color from changing in the fridge or freezer.
Can I Make Pesto in a Blender?
You can, but I would not try in a large blender. I would use the smallest container on my Ninja, or in a smoothie sized cup that fits your blender.
How Can I Freeze Fresh Oregano?
You will need to make a puree with the fresh oregano because if you just toss it whole into a baggie and throw it into the freezer it will be an icky slimy mess.
So you will want to puree with water or oil depending on your dietary preferences. Then freeze the puree in ice cube trays and store in a resealable bag, like this Stasher bag that you use over and over again.
Quick and Easy Fresh Oregano Vegan Pesto
- 1 cup fresh oregano leaves removed from the stems
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup pecans or substitute nut or seed of your choice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil , use water to make oil-free
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Add all the ingredients to a small food processor and process until it's mostly smooth, but has some tiny pieces of nuts in it for some texture.
- Serve over pasta, mixed in a dip or layered in lasagna.
- I used 2 tablespoons of the pesto mixed with ¼ cup pasta cooking water tossed with ½ pound cooked pasta. This will feed 2. Double to serve 4.