Basic Basil Pesto

10 Reviews
From the EatingWell Kitchen

Simplicity reigns in this traditional sauce—just basil, garlic, cheese and olive oil. Our one modification? We like omega-3-laden walnuts in the mix for their crunch and delicate flavor, but pine nuts, almonds, pecans or even pistachios may be substituted for the walnuts.

Ingredients 8 servings

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Original recipe yields 8 servings
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, (2-3 bunches)
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces, toasted (see Tip)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 large clove garlic, quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Place basil, walnuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, oil, water, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor; pulse a few times, then process until fairly smooth, or to the desired consistency, scraping down the sides occasionally.
  • Tip: To toast walnuts: Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350 °F, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned, 7 to 9 minutes.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 2 tablespoons
  • Per serving: 82 calories; 8 g fat(1 g sat); 1 g fiber; 1 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 13 mcg folate; 2 mg cholesterol; 0 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 954 IU vitamin A; 3 mg vitamin C; 50 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 180 mg sodium; 77 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 0
  • Exchanges: 2 fat

Reviews 10

September 24, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
THIS is a Traditional HIGH FAT PESTO! BEWARE THIS IS NOT LOWFAT AS EATING WELL LISTS! Very disappointed this is considered Eating Well, and also labeled as LOWFAT!! * OUTRAGEOUS! * Per serving there are 83 calories and 72 calories of this is FAT! Which makes it 86% FAT! This was the second recipe listed when I searched lowfat Pesto and as you can see it is NOT LOWFAT. Otherwise the recipe is a traditional Pesto and I'm am sure very good. Pros: NULL Cons: HIGH FAT- 86% FAT by calories,72 of the 83 calories are FAT
September 12, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
Good but salty - will try again with pine nuts and less salt! Pros: NULL Cons: NULL
July 14, 2012
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By: syoung712
I had an abundance of basil that I had grown, and this was the perfect way to use it. This was easy, flavorful, and healthier than many recipes I had come across for pesto. I used half the salt, per other suggestions, but otherwise followed the recipe. I plan to toss it with whole wheat linguini and some diced tomatoes for lunch. I'll definitely make it again! Pros: NULL Cons: NULL
December 18, 2010
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By: sjeter77
Perfect with Pine Nuts Awesome recipe. I used pine nuts instead because I am a fan of traditional pesto. Thanks so much for this recipe. I topped angel hair pasta and chicken with the pesto, which was perfect. Dinner was yummy! Pros: Tasty, Healthy, Easy to make Cons: None
September 14, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
I loved this. It's delicious, and a reasonable amount of calories without less flavor. I'd half the salt and after you mix it see if you want more though, just FYI (the cheese is salty.) Pros: Cons:
September 05, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
Easy and delicious. Did not have fresh garlic so subsitiuted with garlic powder (1/4 teaspoon) and it was still great. Used it as spread on a roasted vegetable panini - yum. Pros: Cons:
August 22, 2010
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By: Paula Burnette
I cannot even TELL you how many times i have used this recipe. EATINGWELL.COM is go to site for healthier and better recipes! Love you guys, thanks! paula burnette Pros: Cons:
June 23, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe. It tasted very fresh. I did substitute pecans for the walnuts as I didn't have any. Pros: Cons:
June 23, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe. It tasted very fresh. I did substitute pecans for the walnuts as I didn't have any. I actually did a blog post about this if you'd like to see it... Basic Basil Pesto Post Pros: Cons: