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!
Very tempting! And you are right about making it oneself. I am a total advocate of DIY - but gotta throw in with you on this one! Seems like a good bargain to me.
I made brown rice spiral noodles, added chopped walnuts, and defrosted some broccoli crowns left them crunchy, Topped it with a can of albacore tuna. It was heaven. I froze the left over pesto in small baggies so it didn’t go to waste.
May have to try it. At least it has less sodium than TJ's other pesto products.
I love pesto and usually make it myself, but this is a great deal and really tasty. Thanks Trader Joes!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Ttrockwood Ttrockwood says
I was SO excited to find this!! I’m a lactose intolerant vegetarian (who hates eggs) so i get really excited about new vegan products at TJs! I don’t think there is any way i could even use the full 1/4 serving , so the nutritional stats come down by at least half for what i used. I used it mixed with some roasted carrots and cauliflower as part of a grain bowl with quinoa and that was delicious. Also just used a spoon of it on a bowl of beans and greens soup with nutritional yeast and that was really awesome.
I tried this pesto sauce a few weeks ago because of your post and it was life changing!! Seriously, I love this stuff and I stock up on it each week! Thank you for just a thorough and honest review of this!
Hey Kathy! Glad my review could help you. That vegan pesto was the best thing I tried last year. Thanks for taking the time to stop by to read my blog and share your thoughts!
i use it as a spread on sandwiches but am looking for other ideas. ?
Hi Bren! Thanks for stopping by and asking the question. I've used mine for pasta and under an avocado toast but I think you might find this link helpful for inspiration: https://www.buzzfeed.com/lincolnthompson/28-of-the-most-delicious-things-you-can-do-with-pesto
I loved it! I never know how long I can save something like this in the fridge once opened. There’s a date but I figure that’s the date to use by if unopened. I wish the container would say.
Hey Bonnie! I'd only let it sit there for 2-3 days at most. But I agree, I wished the container would say that. Thanks so much for stopping by!