I have a serious question for you guys, is it possible to go wrong with pesto? I personally believe that you can not. It is just so creamy and flavorful. When I first went vegan, this was one of the foods I thought was naturally vegan, but then later learned that it is typically made with cheese, major whoopsies. The good news for all us vegans is that it is a super simple vegan pesto recipe. This pesto salad recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser among vegans and non vegans alike!
Can I make this barley pesto salad recipe vegan?
Yes of course! Barley is a grain that contains gluten. If you do not have a gluten allergy, I would definitely recommend trying this pesto salad recipe out as is! However, if you are avoiding gluten there are several gluten-free grains that you can use in its place. These include: quinoa, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, the list goes on! I am not gluten-free, but I would say about 95% of all my recipes are gluten-free, and 100% of them can be made gluten-free with a simple substitution! Here are some of my favorite gluten-free grain recipes:
Can I make this recipe grain-free?
You can totally! You can simply swap out the barley for a lettuce such as romaine. It will still have all the delicious flavor from the homemade vegan pesto, but free of grains! You could even take this one step further and make it paleo by subbing out the beans for walnuts!
Is pesto actually healthy?
I feel like pesto gets stereotyped as the healthy option a little too much. Traditional pesto is not healthy, sorry hate to break it to you. Is it delicious? Absolutely! However it is loaded with cheese and oil making it a high calorie and high saturated fat sauce. However this pesto for this pesto salad recipe is made using simple plant based ingredients, so it passes the healthy check!
Ingredients for this Pesto Salad Recipe:
- Cannellini beans
- Walnuts “VEGAN10” for $10 off!
- Nutritional Yeast
- Cherry tomatoes
- Red onion
Barley Pesto Salad
For the Barley Salad:
- 1 cup pearled barley
- 1 15.4oz can cannellini beans
- 3 cucumbers
- 2 containers cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 can artichoke hearts
- 1 can black olives
For the Pesto:
- 1 cup basil
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 lemons
- Begin by cooking your barley according to package instructions.
- While barley is cooking chop up your vegetables. Cut the cucumbers into half circles, the cherry tomatoes in half, and finely dice the red onion.
- Strain and rinse the beans, artichokes, and olives.
- Make the pesto by simply combining all pesto ingredients to a blender and blending until smooth.
- Once barley has cooked and cooled, add it and all ingredients together in a large bowl and toss with the pesto. Serve and enjoy!