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easy vegan carrot pesto pasta

Vegan Carrot Pesto Pasta

Author : Ashley Madden
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Servings: 4
Inspired by a bare fridge and now a pasta favorite. This pesto is unconventional and delicious. I like to toast the seasme seeds, but you can leave them raw. Toss with your favorite cooked pasta for a simple and elegant plant-based meal.


  • High-speed blender (ideally with a plunger)



  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 cups roughly chopped carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • Juice of ½ large lemon
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Pinch black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • Water to thin


  • 12 ounces/340 grams dried linguine pasta whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, or legume


  • Warm a large pan over medium heat, add the sunflower seeds, and toast the seeds until fragrant and golden in color. About 3-4 minutes. Immediately transfer to a plate to cool. If you prefer to use raw sunflower seeds, I suggest soaking the seeds for 4 to 6 hours before use. Drain and follow the recipe as written.
  • Place the remainder of the ingredients in a high-speed blender. Add the sunflower seeds once no longer hot (it’s ok if they’re warm). Add ¼ cup water and blend. You can also use a food processor but will have to stop and scrape down the sides often to incorporate all ingredients.
    Use your plunger to help the blending process. Add more water as needed to get a cohesive mixture, I usually add between ½ and ¾ cup water total. It’s ok if the pesto has some texture but you don’t want chunks of seeds or carrots. Taste and re-season with salt, pepper, and/ or lemon juice. Transfer the pesto to a container or bowl.
  • Cook your pasta according to directions for al dente. Reserve ½ cup pasta liquid. Drain the pasta, return to the pot and add as much carrot pesto as is desired. Add pasta water as needed to loosen the pasta if it clumps together. Serve immediately and enjoy! We found that a touch of hot sauce really adds a nice touch to this pasta too!


Keep leftover pesto in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Stir before use. 
You can also use this carrot pesto as a spread for sandwiches or stuffed in a whole grain wrap with avocado and lettuce. 
As always, feel free to add sautéed or roasted veggies to bump up the nutritional profile of this carrot pesto pasta. Broccoli, spinach, and mushrooms will work well. 
Did you make this recipe? Tag @riseshinecook on Instagram or hashtag it #riseshinecook