Is Pesto Vegan And Vegetarian? (Basil, Sun-dried, etc.)

is pesto vegan

It’s a traditional Italian food that many people all over the world enjoy, but is pesto vegan?

Pesto is considered to be traditionally vegan and vegetarian. The most popular kind is Basil, and that’s usually a vegan product, while the sun-dried tomato has Parmesan cheese. Meaning Basil is traditionally vegan-friendly, while sun-dried is non-vegan.

However, pesto is not typically vegan. Some pesto is, but not all. Many have added Parmesan cheese or other animal products. One distinct issue with pesto is that it’s often cross-contaminated with animal products.

You must read the ingredients and the backside for yourself. Look for any indication of animal products in the ingredients or cross-contamination.

Is Pesto Vegan Traditionally

The most traditional pesto is the basil pesto – The sun-dried tomato pesto has also become a classic, in many households. So are these options traditionally vegan?

The traditional recipe for basil pesto is entirely vegan. While the as famous sun-dried tomato pesto usually contains Parmesan cheese. So the conventional recipe for Basil is 100% vegan, while the sun-dried is not suitable for vegans.

Those are the recipes that are commonly considered traditional. Although pesto is an old Italian household classic. Meaning some think one recipe to be traditional while some think otherwise. -It usually depends on who you ask, and some parts of Italy might have another traditional version of either Basil or sun-dried tomato pesto.

However, these are the traditional recipes. As with many other foods, recipes change over time and place, it’s never safe to assume just because it’s traditionally vegan.

So let’s take a look a whether or not pesto is typically vegan. Meaning the pesto, you encounter every day at restaurants or grocery stores.

Is Pesto Typically Vegan

So some traditional recipes are vegan, but the question remains. Is the pestos you see every day typically vegan?

A lot of store-bought pestos are entirely vegan. Flavors such as Basil or similar are most often vegan, but it’s not a given. Some use Parmesan cheese to add flavor, and some are cross-contaminated with animal products.

You’ll have to have a look at the back of your pesto to make sure. Read the ingredients list to identify if any dairy, eggs, or similar is there. That’s always the first thing to look for.

-Although you also have to look for statements as this:


Many products use entirely vegan ingredients, yet are not vegan. It happens when a product is made in the same facilities as animal containing products. Your pesto will have trace amounts of animal products if you see this label.

So pesto is often vegan, but far from always. While Basil is typically vegan, you cannot just assume. Read the back to make sure.

Which Types Of Pesto Are Vegan

Pesto is broad, as it can be many different ingredients. Most of them don’t even taste similarly. You might have heard of red or green pesto, but did you know pesto can be anything?

Here’s the rundown of some of the most popular pestos.

Is Red Pesto Vegan

Red pesto is by far one the most popular pesto, alongside the green, otherwise known as basil pesto. The pesto typically consists of sun-dried tomatoes, although it comes in many varieties. So is red pesto vegan traditionally?

Red pesto with sun-dried tomatoes is typically not. That’s because the traditional recipe has Parmesan cheese, as many pestos do.

That being said, red pesto can be vegan. The only ingredient you need to either replace or leave out is Parmesan cheese. You can make your own or buy them online.

Is Basil Pesto Vegan

Basil pesto is both delicious and widely available everywhere. You can use it for many dishes such as pasta, sandwiches or brochette. Although, is basil pesto vegan?

Yes, basil pesto is typically entirely vegan. The usual non-vegan ingredient in pesto is Parmesan cheese, but that’s usually not present in basil.

While most basil pesto is vegan, not all is. So it’s still essential that you make sure before any purchase. Look for any indications of dairy, either in the ingredients or cross-contaminated in the production process.

Is Pumpkin Pesto Vegan

While pumpkin pesto isn’t’ the most popular pesto, many people enjoy it nevertheless. So is pumpkin pesto usually vegan?

Many popular pumpkin pesto recipes have Parmesan cheese. Meaning that many options are not suitable for vegans. Although it’s particularly easy to make your own vegan pumpkin pestos.

That’s because the pumpkin adds a lot of creaminess. Something which Parmesan also adds to a pesto. So you can easily make your own that’s very similar to the more popular kinds.

Is Pasta Pesto Vegan

A very popular dish with pesto is pasta pesto. It’s cheap, and it can actually taste quite delicious despite the low cost, but is it vegan?

Most dried pasta is entirely vegan, so it’s easy to find options that suit you. So pasta pesto can be vegan, as long as you use dried pasta with a vegan pesto. Basil works particularly well for pasta pesto, and it’s usually an animal-free product product.

Although there are some caveats to eating pasta as a vegan. While a lot of dried pasta is vegan, some of them are contaminated with animal products. You can read more about How To Choose Vegan Pasta by clicking the link.

Is Pesto Vegetarian

The vegetarian diet excludes everything made of animal. Meaning they can have products from animals, such as eggs, just not the animal. So is pesto vegetarian?

Pesto is entirely without any meat, fat, or animal enzymes. That’s the case for all pestos you will ever encounter. So pesto is entirely vegetarian, as long as it’s not an obscure flavor that includes meat, or hidden ingredients.

Hidden ingredients include labels such as natural flavor. That’s usually a broad term for many ingredients, that can consist of animal parts. Although it’s very rare to see pestos with such ingredients.


Some pesto is traditionally without animal products. Although it depends who you ask because not all consider the same ingredients to be traditional. Some parts of Italy can have entirely different recipes than others. -The same is true for today’s pesto. It’s not possible to say whether or not pesto itself is vegan. Some are while others are not. Even the same kind of pesto can have different ingredients depending on where you get it.

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