Vegan Pesto Swirl Cream Cheese

Fresh basil pesto swirled into cultured cashew cream cheese.

  • Yield: About 2 cups 1x


Cultured cashew cream

Basil pesto

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews (or pine nuts)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper


Cultured cashew cream

  1. Drain the soaked cashews and rinse under cold water.
  2. Place the cashews and water in the bowl of a blender. Blend on high speed until completely smooth, scraping down the sides from time to time, it took me about 5 minutes. Stir in the mesophilic culture or vegan probiotics and blend for another 10 seconds. If the cashew cream is too thick, add more water until you get the desired consistency.
  3. Transfer to a clean bowl and cover with a clean towel, or plastic film. Let sit at room temperature, away from direct sunlight for at least 24H. After 24 hours, taste it to see if it has a slightly sour flavor, if it still tastes like cashews, cover and let sit for another day. Once cultured, stir in the salt and mix well. Taste and adjust salt if needed.
  4. Transfer the cultured cashew cream to a serving plate or large bowl and swirl 1-2 tablespoons of basil pesto. Don’t add too much pesto or it will cover the taste of the fresh cream cheese, you want a nice balance between the two. Use as a dip, spread on toasts or bagels, serve with roasted vegetables, etc.
  5. The cashew cream will keep for up to one week in the refrigerator.

Basil pesto

  1. Gently wash the fresh basil. Combine basil, raw cashews or pine nuts, nutritional yeast and garlic in food processor, pulse until the nuts are roughly chopped. Stir in the olive oil and process again until smooth. I like to keep some nut pieces for more texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Transfer to a clean jar, it will keep for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.


This recipe makes more pesto than needed, use the leftovers in salads, sandwiches, vinaigrette, or with avocado, tomatoes, etc.

If you want a stretchier texture, add 1 tsp of xanthan gum when blending the cashews.


  • Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
  • Calories: 53
  • Sugar: 0.5g
  • Fat: 4.4g
  • Carbohydrates: 2.9g
  • Fiber: 0.3g
  • Protein: 1.4g