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Spaghetti with Pesto
Image by Helen Rushbrook / Stocksy
April 5, 2020
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Until I made this Easy Pine Nut Pasta Sauce from my book, Whole Food Cooking Every Day, I had never had a really good bowl of vegan pasta. You know, the kind of ultra-simple pasta that feels like a hug, the sauce gently coating each strand and bringing all the ingredients into union.

The lack of umami-rich Parmigiano-Reggiano is noticeable in many vegan pasta dishes, but combining crushed lightly toasted pine nuts with a little lemon, olive oil, and salt results in the "more-ish" flavor and texture of a successful pasta, sans dairy. Once your pasta is coated in this sauce, you can add anything from lightly cooked spring vegetables to a hearty red sauce.

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Easy Pine Nut Pasta Sauce

Makes ½ cup


  • ½ cup (2½ ounces | 60 g) raw pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, or more to taste


  1. Warm a medium skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Toss in the pine nuts, reduce the heat to low, and toast, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until fragrant and golden.
  2. Transfer to a mortar or mini food processor (see Note) and add the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.
  3. Use a pestle to crush the nuts and grind until a paste forms. Or, if you're using a mini food processor, blend until smooth, scrape the sides, and blend again.
  4. Use immediately, or store the sauce in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Note: If you only have a regular-size food processor, you may need to double this recipe to get it to blend up smooth; if you don't want to make extra sauce, just blend until it is as smooth as possible, stopping to move the mixture around to help it blend.

Excerpted from Whole Food Cooking Every Dayby Amy Chaplin (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2019. Photographs by Anson Smart.
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Amy Chaplin
Amy Chaplin
Chef and Author

Amy Chaplin has worked as a vegetarian chef for over twenty years. She is the former executive chef of New York's renowned vegan restaurant Angelica Kitchen, a recipe developer, a teacher, and a private chef whose clients include Natalie Portman and Liv Tyler. Amy's delicious vegan and vegetarian cuisine has appeared in numerous publications, including Martha Stewart Living, Vogue, Whole Living, New York magazine, the Guardian, and Fitness. She is also a regular contributor to the Food Network's HealthyEats blog. A native of Australia, over the last two decades Chaplin has worked as a chef in Amsterdam, London, Sydney, and New York. She currently resides in New York City. Find more of her original recipes at