15 Minute Veggie Pesto Pasta (Vegan & Nut-Free)

A fresh and healthy Veggie Pesto Pasta that comes together in only 15 minutes! Made with rotini pasta, grape tomatoes, fresh basil, and the most delicious pumpkin seed pesto. This easy recipe is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free. Easily add your favorite seasonal vegetables like zucchini, summer squash, or cucumbers into this recipe for a year round favorite!

Looking for more easy vegan pasta recipes? Try this Greek Pasta Salad!

All About This Veggie Pesto Pasta

  • Flavor: Bright, fresh, and nutty are how I would describe the flavor of this pasta. Even without nuts, the pumpkin seed pesto brings that rich nutty flavor while the addition of lemon juice and tomatoes brightens it up perfectly. And we all know you can't beat fresh basil!
  • Texture: The pumpkin seed pesto is smooth, creamy, and thick enough to get the most gorgeous pesto flavor in between every bit of rotini. You can always alter the amount of liquid used or add a bit of pasta water to the pesto to get the consistency you like best.
  • Ease: This veggie pesto pasta is a breeze to make. A beginner can easily master this recipe by following my instructions below. If you know how to boil water, you're good to go. While I highly recommend the pumpkin seed pesto in this recipe, if you want to make it even easier just use your favorite store bought pesto.
Ingredients for vegan pumpkin seed pesto in wood measuring cups on white marble counter top.

Veggie Pesto Pasta Frequently Asked Questions:

What vegetables can I use in Veggie Pesto Pasta?

Pretty much any that you want! This is a great all year round recipe, so think of which vegetables are in season when you're making it. In the spring and summer try zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, summer squash, peas, eggplant, carrots, spinach, or bell peppers. In the fall and winter try cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, winter squash, pumpkin, potatoes, or radishes.

What pastas go well with pesto?

While pesto is delicious on any type of pasta, I've found that my favorite pastas to pair with pesto are rotini and farfalle. Some other great options are trofie, linguine, bucatini, campanelle, and orecchiette.

Can I use store bought pesto?

Of course! I highly recommend the pumpkin seed pesto in this recipe since it is SO simple and easy to make, but if you're a store-bought only kind of person go for it. My favorite store-bought option is definitely Gotham Greens.

What nuts and seeds are best for pesto?

Pumpkin seeds are clearly my choice, but you can also make pesto with pretty much any kind of seed or nut. Traditional pesto is made with pine nuts, but you could also use walnuts, pecans, pistachios, sunflower seeds, etc.

Is pesto usually vegan?

Traditional pesto is made with parmesan cheese, so it is not considered vegan. You can easily make pesto without it though. In my opinion, this dairy free version is even more delicious! You won't even miss the parmesan.

What can I use instead of cheese in pesto?

I make up for the lack of cheese in this pesto recipe by using a flaky sea salt and lemon juice for that salty punch of cheese like flavor. You can always add some nutritional yeast as well if that isn't enough.

Ingredients for vegan pumpkin seed pesto in food processor on white marble counter top.

Ingredients For Veggie Pesto Pasta

To make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients. See the full recipe card at the end of this post for detailed amounts and instructions! 

  • Pasta - I love using rotini for this veggie pesto pasta, but any kind will work. We love anything by Tolerant!
  • Grape Tomatoes - We are going to roast these cuties for the best flavor!
  • Pumpkin Seeds/Pepitas - Pumpkin seeds or pepitas (same thing) help give our pesto that good nutty flavor. Plus, they are full of valuable nutrients such as healthy fats, magnesium and zinc.
  • Garlic - You know I love it, but if you don't you can cut down or skip all together.
  • Lemon Juice - My advice, don't skimp on the lemon juice. I love the bright flavor it brings!
  • Olive Oil - Extra virgin olive oil helps to create a smooth, rich pesto.
  • Fresh Basil Leaves - The fresher the basil, the better.
  • Sea Salt - I have a huge thing for flaky sea salt. I'm never without Maldon!
Vegan pumpkin seed pesto in white bowl with wood spoon on white marble counter top.

How to Make This Veggie Pesto Pasta

To make this pasta, simply:

  1. Make pasta.

    Prepare pasta according to package directions.

  2. Roast tomatoes.

    While pasta is cooking half grape tomatoes and place cut side down on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes.

  3. Add ingredients to food processor.

    Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse on high for at least 1 minute. Remove lid and scrape down the sides and give a little stir to the bottom of the processor before pulsing again for another minute or until pesto is combined and smooth.

  4. Do a taste test.

    Before removing pesto from the food processor, do a taste test. If necessary, add more sea salt for flavor or add more lemon juice, or olive oil to reach your desired thickness. 

  5. Assemble.

    Drain your cooked pasta and cover with the pesto. Toss until fully coated. Garnish with the roasted tomatoes, extra basil leaves, and a pinch of sea salt.

Tips For the Perfect Veggie Pesto Pasta

  • Avoid bitter pesto by using more lemon juice. Sometimes the olive oil in pesto can create a bitter taste. This can be avoided by adding lemon juice!
  • Scrape down the sides of the processor when making the pesto. To get the smoothest pesto, be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of your food processor between pulses. Those pesky pumpkin seed pieces tend to get thrown around if you don't scrape it.
  • Always do a taste test. Depending on the time of year and freshness of your ingredients your pasta can turn out differently. I find I'm often adding a touch more lemon juice or a pinch more salt to get it just right.
  • To store. Store in fridge in an air tight container for up to 3 days. 
Veggie pesto pasta in white bowl with grape tomatoes and basil leaves.

Veggie Pesto Pasta Variations

This is a great recipe to have in your rotation because you can tweak it in so many different ways. My favorite up to now is the recipe I've shared here today, but here are a few more ways that you could change it up!

  • Change up the veggies. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand or go with seasonal favorites. As few or many as your heart desires!
  • Change up the nuts/seeds. Pretty much any nut or seed will work in this vegan pesto. I definitely prefer pumpkin seeds, but pine nuts, cashews, walnuts, or sunflower seeds are all great options too.
  • Use sun-dried tomatoes. For an extra punch of rich and savory, try using oil packed sun dried tomatoes. I love doing this when I have them!
  • Add nutritional yeast. If you are still missing that cheesy flavor, try adding up to 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast to the recipe below.
  • Add red pepper flakes. If you like an extra bit of heat, add some red pepper flakes to your pesto! I love doing this!

More vegan recipes you'll love!

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Veggie pesto pasta in white bowl with grape tomatoes and basil leaves.

15 Minute Veggie Pesto Pasta (Vegan & Nut-Free)


  • Author: Lauren
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

A fresh and healthy Veggie Pesto Pasta that comes together in only 15 minutes! Made with rotini pasta, grape tomatoes, fresh basil, and the most delicious pumpkin seed pesto. This easy recipe is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free. Easily add your favorite seasonal vegetables like zucchini, summer squash, or cucumbers into this recipe for a year round favorite!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 8-12 ounce rotini pasta (We love Tolerant!)
  • 10 ounce pack grape tomatoes
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 small cloves garlic
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves + more for garnish
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt + more to taste

Instructions

  1. Make pasta. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  2. Roast tomatoes. While pasta is cooking half grape tomatoes and place cut side down on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Add ingredients to food processor. Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse on high for at least 1 minute. Remove lid and scrape down the sides and give a little stir to the bottom of the processor before pulsing again for another minute or until pesto is combined and smooth.
  4. Do a taste test. Before removing pesto from the food processor, do a taste test. If necessary, add more sea salt for flavor or add more lemon juice, or olive oil to reach your desired thickness.
  5. Assemble. Drain your cooked pasta and cover with the pesto. Toss until fully coated. Garnish with the roasted tomatoes, extra basil leaves, and a pinch of sea salt.

Notes

  • To store. Store in fridge in an air tight container for up to 3 days. 
  • Change up the veggies. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand or go with seasonal favorites. As few or many as your heart desires!
  • Change up the nuts/seeds. Pretty much any nut or seed will work in this vegan pesto. I definitely prefer pumpkin seeds, but pine nuts, cashews, walnuts, or sunflower seeds are all great options too.
  • Use sun-dried tomatoes. For an extra punch of rich and savory, try using oil packed sun dried tomatoes. I love doing this when I have them!
  • Add nutritional yeast. If you are still missing that cheesy flavor, try adding up to 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast to the recipe below.
  • Add red pepper flakes. If you like an extra bit of heat, add some red pepper flakes to your pesto! I love doing this!

Keywords: veggie pesto pasta

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Welcome!

I'm Lauren, creator here at by Lauren Cermak! My husband Michael and I live in Tennessee. I'm into classic style, British baking shows, and pretty finds. My motto is dress like Kate, work like Reese, and entertain like Martha!

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{Hello 30!} When Michael asked how I was feeling about this birthday I said, “I’ve always wanted to be in my 30s!”. Blame it on Jennifer Garner’s thirty flirty and thriving or the fact that I’ve had the personality of a 30 year old woman since I was 18 😂, but today I’m living the dream! My twenties were full of joy, discovery, and so much growth. By the grace of God, I became a stronger and more confident person than I ever thought I could be. It’s hard for me to think about the past decade of my life without tearing up and every bit of it has to do with the man beside me. My best friend, confidant, cheerleader, champion, bodyguard, and simply everything! So to you, Michael Cermak, thank you for lifting me up and making all of my dreams come true! Here’s to 30! 
.
P.S. We’ve been falling in love with Georgetown/DC the past week and decided to hire someone to take some pictures of us together after seeing how many I have of just me from our other trips this year 😂 Thank you @cheyennemacielphotography for this sneak peak! If you’re in the DC area you must use her!
{Hello 30!} When Michael asked how I was feeling about this birthday I said, “I’ve always wanted to be in my 30s!”. Blame it on Jennifer Garner’s thirty flirty and thriving or the fact that I’ve had the personality of a 30 year old woman since I was 18 😂, but today I’m living the dream! My twenties were full of joy, discovery, and so much growth. By the grace of God, I became a stronger and more confident person than I ever thought I could be. It’s hard for me to think about the past decade of my life without tearing up and every bit of it has to do with the man beside me. My best friend, confidant, cheerleader, champion, bodyguard, and simply everything! So to you, Michael Cermak, thank you for lifting me up and making all of my dreams come true! Here’s to 30! . P.S. We’ve been falling in love with Georgetown/DC the past week and decided to hire someone to take some pictures of us together after seeing how many I have of just me from our other trips this year 😂 Thank you @cheyennemacielphotography for this sneak peak! If you’re in the DC area you must use her!
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And the precious reason we went to Nashville 🥰 I vow to spend an excessive amount of time and money spoiling you sweet girl! That’s what aunts are for, right?!
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An amazing experience at @audreynashville this weekend! Not only is the food incredible, but the space is inspired! Photo dump featuring yet another one of Michael’s artistic (accidental) screenshot selfies 😂
An amazing experience at @audreynashville this weekend! Not only is the food incredible, but the space is inspired! Photo dump featuring yet another one of Michael’s artistic (accidental) screenshot selfies 😂
An amazing experience at @audreynashville this weekend! Not only is the food incredible, but the space is inspired! Photo dump featuring yet another one of Michael’s artistic (accidental) screenshot selfies 😂
An amazing experience at @audreynashville this weekend! Not only is the food incredible, but the space is inspired! Photo dump featuring yet another one of Michael’s artistic (accidental) screenshot selfies 😂
An amazing experience at @audreynashville this weekend! Not only is the food incredible, but the space is inspired! Photo dump featuring yet another one of Michael’s artistic (accidental) screenshot selfies 😂
An amazing experience at @audreynashville this weekend! Not only is the food incredible, but the space is inspired! Photo dump featuring yet another one of Michael’s artistic (accidental) screenshot selfies 😂
An amazing experience at @audreynashville this weekend! Not only is the food incredible, but the space is inspired! Photo dump featuring yet another one of Michael’s artistic (accidental) screenshot selfies 😂
An amazing experience at @audreynashville this weekend! Not only is the food incredible, but the space is inspired! Photo dump featuring yet another one of Michael’s artistic (accidental) screenshot selfies 😂
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