This Healthy Pesto Sauce is about to become your new favorite sauce. It’s simple to make, yet packed with good-for-you ingredients. Use it with your favorite pastas, on salads, and as a savory spread for sandwiches!
To me, pesto used to be one of those things that sounded mysterious and difficult to make.
However, I have found that pesto sauce is actually super easy.
Homemade pesto is also a great way to use up extra basil you don’t want to waste. Is your garden in abundance of basil? Pesto time!
Since I usually keep a box of pine nuts or walnuts in my pantry for just that occasion, it’s a quick toss in the ol’ food processor and poof: pesto!
Now, “traditionalists” would say it’s not “real” pesto unless it is made with a mortar and pestle, but I’m surely no traditionalist and my food processor does a fine job.
Just stick all the ingredients in, shut, and pulse.
Try not to puree the pesto sauce to an entirely smooth consistency. Instead, try to keep it coarse…as though it was made with the mortar and pestle. Sneaky, I know.
Though, if you like it smooth, go right ahead!
Pesto has its use in many dishes. I spread it on my turkey, pesto and cheddar panini, use it as a sauce on my pesto and goat cheese pizza, combine it with freshly cooked pasta and add a few tablespoons to my tomato sauce for a good basil kick, just to name a few.
IS PESTO HEALTHY?
Pesto is indeed healthy. It’s made with basil, which has a lotta good things going for it! Basil has tons of nutrients:
- Basil is especially high in Vitamin K and has Vitamin A as well
- Basil contains calcium, manganese, and iron
- Basil is known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
This pesto contains olive oil, too. And that’s another food that benefits you in many ways. Not only is it tasty, but it also contains polyphenols that prevent inflammatory compounds from being released into the body.
ARE PINE NUTS GOOD FOR YOU?
Pine nuts have lots of Vitamin E and magnesium. They are also a source of monounsaturated fats, so are Did you know that pine nuts are actually a seed? Who knew, right? But although they come from certain species of pine trees, it is often advised that people who are allergic to nuts avoid them. In that case, you could simply leave them out of the recipe.
HOW TO STORE PESTO SAUCE
Pesto can be saved in the fridge for up to a week. When you store it, keep it in an airtight container. Make sure there is oil on the top of the pesto to maintain the freshness and consistency. If there is no oil rising to the top on its own, just add a little before putting it in the fridge.
CAN YOU FREEZE PESTO SAUCE?
You can freeze this yummy pesto sauce. If you’ve got a garden and an abundance of basil, why not make a batch to freeze?
Harvest your basil leaves by cutting the stems, always leaving a couple of leaves on the plant. Store the stems in water for a few days if you cannot use them right away. Leave them on the counter as the cold fridge may discolor the leaves.
After you have made the pesto recipe, store in meal-sized portions in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag for up to a month.
RECIPE SUBSTITUTIONS FOR HEALTHY PESTO SAUCE
Sometimes we want to vary a recipe because of differences in taste or because we are short a needed item. Here are a few substitutions:
- Walnuts, almonds, or pistachios can be substituted for the pine nuts
- Nutritional yeast can replace the parmesan
- Pecorino Romano cheese subs well for parmesan
- Avocado oil can replace the olive oil
- Extra pine nuts can replace parmesan
CAN YOU MAKE HEALTHY PESTO SAUCE VEGAN AND DAIRY-FREE?
Yes, you can easily make the healthy pesto sauce vegan or dairy-free. The only ingredient you will need to swap out is the parmesan cheese. Use nutritional yeast instead, which has a nutty flavor that fits right in with the taste of the pesto.
MORE HEALTHY SAUCE RECIPES
A delicious sauce can make all the difference to a dish. Here are a few of my favorites. They are all versatile, good for you, and easy to make.
- 4 Ingredient Homemade Alfredo Sauce
- Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- 10-Minute Homemade Enchilada Sauce
- Sweet BBQ Sauce
- Roasted Tomato Sauce
- Healthy Teriyaki Sauce
This Healthy Pesto Sauce is about to become your new favorite sauce. It’s simple to make, yet packed with good-for-you ingredients. Use it with your favorite pasta, on salads, and as a savory spread for sandwiches!
- 2 1/2 oz fresh basil
- 1/2 cup pine nuts can substitute walnuts
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2-4 cloves garlic depending on how strong of a garlic taste you like
- 1/2 tsp sea salt plus more to taste
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper plus more to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to your desired consistency.
You can also pulse the garlic and pine nuts together before the other ingredients to break them down a little bit more.
Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
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