vegan watercress pesto (or watercress alfredo sauce)

vegan watercress pesto

Wow. This recipe is a reallllll winner. I love pesto but sometimes too much parm hurst my belly and I'm always interested in experimenting with more veg-heavy and vegan-friendly recipes - and here is one such goodie.

Vegan pesto can be tricky - especially if you don't want it to have a ton of tofu in it (which I didn't). In this recipe, white beans give the sauce a creamy kick (which is why my husband insisted I call it a green alfredo sauce), while lemons neutralize any bitterness from the watercress and hemp seeds add a healthy omega-3 and extra protein kick.  

I used this pesto on vegan waffles called 'Swapples' - a new DC based (and girlbossed) company that I was lucky to discover. I also topped this particular dish with caramelized onions which I highly recommend doing. This pesto is great on toast (or savory waffles) as well as pasta. I hope you enjoy it and resist eating it with a spoon (as I do) because then it's all gone...

Vegan Watercress Pesto


  • 1 1/2 cups loosely packed watercress, roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves peeled
  • 4 TBSP hemp seeds
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • juice of 1 lemon 
  • 3/4 cup canned and drained (or cooked) cannelini beans
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of red pepper (optional) 


  1. place all dry ingredients in food processor and pulse a few times so items are more thinly chopped. 
  2. add the olive oil and lemon juice and pulse for about 60 seconds or until a smooth, pesto-like sauce is formed. Use to adorn your bread, savory waffles, potatoes, pasta, etc. Sky is the limit!

This pesto recipe makes about 1 cup of sauce and will keep in the fridge for about a week.