The pros: Trader Joe's Vegan Kale, Cashew and Basil Pesto is excellent pesto that rivals homemade.
The cons: Don't let pesto's green appearance fool you, this is not a low calorie sauce.
The verdict: I love a good pesto. Pesto actually means "paste" in Italian. That paste is traditionally made with greens, nuts, oil, and cheese. Now, in order for this product to be vegan the cheese was omitted. A natural fit here is the use of cashews which lends quite a bit of creaminess to this pesto which in turn takes the place of the cheese that was omitted. And yes, I really liked this pesto.
This is one of those product I picked up on a whim and said "well I guess I'll make pasta sometime this week." I made Trader Joe's Sweet Potato Ribbons instead. Now, when I opened this I took a spoon to taste it. ::Swoon:: I don't usually get excited about store bought sauces. This one however rivals homemade. It has all the flavor you can hope for in a pesto. The kale and basil were bright and flavorful. There was enough lemon juice to ensure the flavor did not fall flat. You also had the added flavor of garlic, salt, and pepper. It was well balanced and delicious. It lacked for nothing.
For $3.69 you are getting 8 ounces of pesto, which might seem a bit pricey, but if you've ever made pesto at home you need quite a bit of ingredients to actually make a cup of pesto. Suddenly a food processor full of greens and nuts suddenly isn't as full after a few pulses. For me, I wasn't missing the cheese in this at all. If someone had put this in front of me, I would not have known it wasn't vegan. Now, some people might still miss the cheese. Just sprinkle a little on top. Or if you are vegan, then reach for the nutritional yeast to keep it vegan. I really enjoyed this product. I've tried jarred pesto before and it does not measure up to fresh pesto at all. This is as close to homemade as it gets. Well done and yes, I would buy this again.
Now, don't let all this green sauce get you too excited, pesto isn't exactly diet food. Between the nuts and oil there are still quite a few calories in this. But I really feel they were worth every single one of them.
Here is the visual run down of what you get if you buy this product:
The container of Trader Joe's Vegan Kale, Cashew and Basil Pesto:
The nutritional information and the ingredients:
Out of the package you get:
After being added to some of Trader Joe's Sweet Potato Ribbons you get:
Would I buy this again? Oh yes! Trader Joe's Vegan Kale, Cashew and Basil Pesto was fresh and as close to homemade as it gets. Even though it was vegan you can add the one ingredient that some might find missing: cheese. Very well done and worth a look.
Want to see more items I've reviewed from Trader Joe's? Click on Thoughts & Reviews of Trader Joe’s for a searchable list.
Did you try it? Let me know what you think in the comments section!