The Best Healthy Pesto Recipe in 20 Minutes


The Best Healthy Pesto Recipe in 20 Minutes


Today, I will give you the recipe of healthy pesto recipe, which not only adds color to the dishes with its beautiful green color, but also increases the flavor of the dishes many times more with its wonderful smell and aroma. When I am in a “what should I do today” trouble, the first option that comes to my mind is to prepare a pesto sauce and cook something with it.

After I give you the recipe of pesto sauce, I will also share where healthy pesto recipe is used. First of all, I use pesto sauce mostly as a pasta sauce. Then in chicken dishes, salads, pastries.For example, have you tried bread with pesto sauce? I make it often, I think it is delicious.

The basic ingredients for easy healthy pesto recipe are fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts (or walnuts), parmesan cheese. You can use old cheddar cheese instead of parmesan cheese or not. I use both walnuts and pine nuts. You can adjust the ingredients or the amount of ingredients according to your taste. Pesto sauce can now be found in the pasta sauces section of the market shelves, but the smell and taste of the pesto sauce you make at home is definitely much different.

How Do You Make Healthy Pesto?

We start the healthy pesto recipe by washing the basil leaves.

Step 1
Remove the stems and wash the basil in plenty of water and pat dry.

fresh basil

Step 2
Roast the pine nuts in a pan without oil for 2-3 minutes to make them crunchy and to make the aroma more intense.

pine nuts

Step 3
Grate the Parmesan cheese on a fine grater. After removing the garlic cloves, crush them in a mortar and pestle with salt.

fresh garlic

Step 4
Puree the crushed garlic cloves with the roasted pine nuts and basil leaves in a food processor.


Step 5
Add the grated parmesan cheese and olive oil a little at a time and keep stirring.

add parmesan and olive oil

Step 6
Store the ready-made pesto sauce in the refrigerator for use on tomatoes, cheese, slices of bread, etc., even when there is no time to prepare a meal.

pesto recipe

Step 7
Share with your loved ones.

How Do You Make Healthy Vegan Pesto Recipe ?

The original recipe for basil sauce (pesto) is not actually vegan. Since we use the healthy pesto vegan recipe as a “main sauce” in many recipes besides breakfast, I wanted to present it here and insist that you try it. You can prepare the sauce in summer, when green basil is at its most abundant and cheapest, and store it in your deep freezer for the winter.

You can use this sauce on toast, sandwiches, other sauces and spreads, salads, rice and pasta, roasted vegetables and even in pies. Since it is high in fat, you usually do not need to add additional oil to the recipe you are using. It is preferred to be used raw, but it can also be used in cooked dishes. You can also prepare and store this sauce with fresh thyme using the same measurements.

pesto recipe
  • 1 bunch of green basil with large leaves
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (can be reduced/increased depending on preference)
  • Oil (sunflower oil or olive oil),
  • 1 teaspoon salt,
  • 1/2 cup of hazelnut kernels

Wash the basil, spread it on a cloth and let it dry well.

Remove the leaves (the stems are not used in the sauce).

In the food processor bowl, first grind some hazelnuts, salt and 1-2 cloves of garlic. It is enough for the hazelnuts to come in bulgur-sized pieces.

Put the basil leaves in 1/2 of the food processor bowl, add enough oil to cover them and start the food processor. The oil will make the basil easy to extract. If it is too little, add oil again. Pass all the ingredients through the food processor in this way. It will be a green colored sauce and a delicious smell will spread to your kitchen with the blending of garlic and basil. Depending on the size of your food processor bowl, you may need to process these ingredients several times.

When all the extraction is done, mix the sauce well and pour into small glass or plastic storage containers.

Storage : Put the part of this sauce you will use in small containers in the cooler section of your refrigerator and the part you will store in the freezer section. It can be easily stored in the cooler section with a lid for 3-4 weeks. When you need to open a new sauce, frozen sauces thaw very quickly.

Why Is Pesto So Good?

Traditional pesto sauce is a healthy addition to any diet with its combination of olive oil, pine nuts, fresh basil, garlic and Parmesan cheese. Although quite high in calories and fat, pesto offers many nutrients and a flavor punch that many other sauces lack. Enjoyed in moderation, pesto can boost your health and nutrient intake.

A 1/4 cup serving of commercially prepared pesto contains 15 percent of the daily value for vitamin A, 6 percent for vitamin C, 20 percent for calcium, and 4 percent for iron. A 2,000-calorie diet. Vitamin A supports vision health, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and tissue builder, iron supports healthy red blood cells and calcium is important for strong bones. You also get about 6 g of protein per serving of pesto. A basil-based pesto also contains some flavonoids, compounds that support cell structure and help fight disease-causing free radicals.

Calories and Fat
Because of the pine nuts, olive oil and Parmesan, pesto is quite calorie dense. A 1/4 cup serving provides about 270 calories and 23 g of fat. The fat in pesto is mostly unsaturated fat, which promotes heart health. In fact, if you are using unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats, you may actually experience an improvement in your cholesterol levels. To support this key, replace pesto with butter and cream sauces such as Alfredo or carbonera.

Some commercial varieties of healthy pesto recipe contain as much as 500 mg of sodium per 1/4 cup serving. Making pesto at home is simple and allows you to control the ingredients. In a blender or food processor, combine 3 cups fresh basil leaves, 1 1/2 cups pine nuts, 4 peeled garlic cloves, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup olive oil. Experiment with different ingredients: for the pine nuts you can use walnuts rich in omega-3 fatty acids, for the basil you can use cilantro or mint, for the Parmesan you can use Romano cheese. If you cannot consume milk, leave out the cheese completely.

Because the healthy pesto recipe is so delicious, you may only need a tablespoon or less to add flavor to your dishes. Stir 1 tbsp. pesto into 1 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt to make a tangy dip for cut vegetables. Add a tablespoon to a bowl of tomato soup to add color and richness. Grilled chicken or fish with a dab of pesto to add to pizza or pizzazz. Dip crusty, whole grain bread in pesto instead of buttering it.

Fresh Basil

Is Homemade Pesto Unhealthy?

As with everything in life, it is of course harmful to overdo the use of pesto sauce. The ingredients in this healthy pesto recipe can help protect your heart and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Olive oil is beneficial for heart health. Basil protects the body against free radical damage by acting as antioxidants in your body with the phytochemicals it contains.

Is Homemade Pesto Healthier Than Store Bought?

Store-bought pesto sauces can naturally be quite high in calories due to the pine nuts, olive oil and parmesan. However, as I mentioned before, the fat in a healthy pesto recipe is mostly unsaturated fat, which supports heart health. Since homemade healthy pesto recipe is lighter and tastier than the ones sold in the store, we can say that it is superior in every way in terms of health.

How Many Calories Are In Pesto?

There are 457 kcal in 100 grams of the healthy pesto recipe and 381 calories in 1 serving (medium) of the pesto sauce (83 grams). Healthy pesto recipe gets most of its calories (73%) from fat.

How Many Calories Are In A Tablespoon Of Pesto?

1 tablespoon of healthy pesto recipe (about 10 g) 45.7 kcal.

Nutrition Facts

4 servings per container

Serving Size83g

  • Amount Per ServingCalories380.2
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 40.5g 63%
    • Cholesterol 8.2mg 3%
    • Potassium 173.1mg 5%
    • Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
      • Dietary Fiber 1.3g 6%
    • Protein 28.9g 58%

    • Vitamin A 1672.4%
    • Vitamin C 5.8%
    • Calcium 178.4%
    • Iron 1.1%

    * The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

    Tips About Healthy Pesto Recipe

    • It is a little more labor-intensive, but if you want the flavor of the pesto sauce to be stronger and the consistency to be thicker, instead of using a food processor, crush all the ingredients in a mortar and pestle respectively.
    • You can store it in the refrigerator in a jar with a closed lid or in the freezer in covered freezers for use in portions.
    • Add the olive oil a little at a time and stir until the mixture.
    • In addition to pine nuts, you can also use walnuts, hazelnuts and cashews that you lightly roast in a pan without oil.
    • To prevent the sauce from darkening, you can add ice during mixing.
    • Remember, fresh basil, if we have planted it at home, is very tender. Once cut, its color darkens if we expose it to high temperatures or if it stays outside for a long time. For this reason, many cooks use fresh spinach instead of basil to complement this ingredient and maintain the bright color of the pesto.
    • Always wait until the last moment to mix the pasta, rice or whatever we want to prepare with the pesto sauce. When the time comes, stir and mix the sauce just before serving.
    • If you now have pesto and don’t know how to preserve it, you can make it in a glass jar or in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last for about a week. If you store it in the freezer it will be perfect for 6 months.
    • To keep the healthy pesto recipe looking fresh and green, after storing it in the container, cover the top with a thin layer of olive oil or a transparent film on the surface. This way we will prevent the pesto from oxidizing and turning a dark color.
    • A good way to freeze pesto is to make small portions. For example, freeze the pesto in ice cube molds, and from there put them in an airtight freezer bag. This way you will only use the pesto you need. To defrost it, you can easily do it in the microwave.
    pesto recipe

    What Works Well With Pesto?

    Pastas :
    Healthy pesto recipe is one of the most common dishes used. The use of pesto sauce in pasta, which is of great importance in Italian cuisine, is frequently preferred.
    Apart from Italian cuisine, it has become widespread in pastas cooked all over the world.
    Healthy pesto recipe is used in many different types of pasta. Along with pesto sauce, extra flavors such as cream, chicken and mushrooms are added to the sauce. Pastas prepared with such sauces are considered as the main course in Italian cuisine.

    Pesto Sauce in Aperitifs and Snacks:
    Healthy pesto recipe, which is a very delicious sauce on its own, is also preferred with toasted bread.
    An ideal sauce for breakfasts, pesto goes well with garlic bread and cheese. It is also very common to use it in sandwiches.

    Pesto Sauce in Meat Dishes:
    The use of sauce in meat dishes makes the meat more comfortable to eat. Pesto is among the sauces that go best with meat dishes.
    It is especially preferred with white meat. It can also be used as a filling for cooking whole chicken. It is also preferred in red meat dishes in harmony with mushrooms and cream.

    Pesto Sauce on Pizzas:
    The consumption of vegan pizzas has become quite common. Mushroom healthy pesto recipe is preferred in most of the pizzas made without meat.
    Along with pesto sauce, pizzas with vegetables such as artichokes, roquefort cheese and dried tomatoes are highly preferred. Apart from vegan pizzas, it is also widely used in chicken pizzas.

    Pesto Sauce in Pastries:
    Basil is a vegetable that is used in many pastries in our cuisine. Healthy pesto recipe prepared by adding cheese, olive oil and garlic is preferred as a mortar in many pastries.
    It is a delicious filling for many pastries such as bread, pastry, buns, cookies and fried dough. Pastries, which have a great place in Italian cuisine, have a magnificent smell with pesto sauce.

    How To Store Pesto Sauce

    Put the healthy pesto recipe in a small jar with a lid and pour olive oil over it to prevent it from darkening. You can store it in the refrigerator for 6-7 days. If you want to keep it longer, you can put the amount you will use in refrigerator bags and keep it in the freezer for 1-2 months. This traditional sauce prepared with the healthy pesto recipe should be stored in the refrigerator after opening and consumed within 5 days.

    If you are looking for more sauce recipes, you can check out my other sauce recipes by clicking on the links below:

    If you have any other questions about the best healthy pesto recipe, don’t hesitate to stop by, I’m always willing to help! Also, don’t forget to follow me on my Instagram page. In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, and have a great day!


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    Healthy Pesto Recipe

    Recipe by HonourCourse: SauceCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy


    Prep time


    Cooking time





    Healthy pesto recipe that adds color to meals with its lush green color


    • 2 bunches of fresh basil

    • 100 g pine nuts

    • 4 cloves of garlic

    • 1 teaspoon of salt

    • 150 g parmesan cheese

    • 400 ml olive oil


    • Remove the stems and wash the basil in plenty of water and pat dry.
    • Roast the pine nuts in a pan without oil for 2-3 minutes for crunchiness and intense flavor.
    • Grate the Parmesan cheese on a fine grater.
    • After removing the garlic cloves, crush them in a mortar and pestle with salt.
    • Puree the crushed garlic cloves with the roasted pine nuts and basil leaves in a food processor.
    • Add the grated parmesan cheese and olive oil a little at a time and keep stirring.
    • Store the ready-made pesto sauce in the refrigerator for use on tomatoes, cheese, slices of bread, etc., even when there is no time to prepare a meal.


    Is pesto good for weight loss?

    1 Serving of healthy pesto recipe, which belongs to the medium calorie product group, will of course cause weight gain if we eat it constantly. It is the right choice to consume 1 serving a day or one serving every 2-3 days. Remember that more of every food causes weight gain.

    Why does pesto have so much fat?

    Traditional pesto sauce is a combination of olive oil, pine nuts, fresh basil, garlic and Parmesan cheese and can be a healthy addition to most menu plans. Although pesto is quite high in calories and fat, this delicious sauce offers a wealth of nutrients and flavor not found in others.

    Is pesto heart healthy?

    Garlic in healthy pesto recipe has many health benefits. As well as lowering cholesterol levels, it stabilizes blood pressure and hardens the arteries and protects your heart.

    What kind of pasta can a diabetic eat?

    Since white rice and white pasta act like sugar in the body, it is recommended to consume brown rice, whole wheat pasta or bulgur pilaf instead.

    Why is pesto healthy?

    Basil is the most important main ingredient in healthy pesto recipe. It is frequently used in Italian, Indonesian, Vietnamese and Thai cuisines. It contains high amounts of (E)-beta-caryophyllene (BCP) and is effective in the treatment of arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases.

    What do you eat pesto with?

    One of the most well-known uses of ealthy pesto recipe is pasta. It is especially used on penne, fettucini and tortellini. It is also widely used in salads, sandwiches, meat and chicken dishes. Pesto sauce is a sauce that is also consumed alone.

    Why do I feel sick after eating pesto?

    You may be sensitive to ingredients such as garlic or olive oil. Of course, you should consult a doctor to clarify this situation.

    Is red or green pesto better?

    It is not correct to say that red or green is better. This depends on your personal preference. Some people prefer green pesto, others think it tastes bland and prefer red pesto. It is possible to prepare both kinds of healthy pesto recipes.

    How long does homemade pesto last in fridge?

    This traditional sauce prepared with a healthy pesto recipe should be stored in the refrigerator after opening and consumed within 5 days.

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