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  • Writer's pictureRock Rousseau

Pesto Herb Sauce

Updated: Jan 19, 2020

Pesto is a quick and easy sauce to top your pasta, meat, or pizza. Pesto refers to the original dish Pesto alla Genovese: a sauce originating in Genoa, the capital city of Liguria, Italy. It traditionally consists of crushed garlic, European pine nuts, coarse salt, basil leaves, hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Sardo, all blended with olive oil. A great change from red sauce.

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves

  • 1/2 cups pine nuts

  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced

  • 1 TBSN grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste


Click the icon below to view ingredient alternatives that satisfy the following dietary needs:

Medium mixing bowl, mixing spoon, measuring spoons, measuring cups, food processor Prep: 10 minutes prep Ready: 20 minutes Serves: 6-8

1. In a food processor, thoroughly blend basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, and cheese.

2. Add mixture to medium bowl and add olive oil; stir to mix thoroughly.

3. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

  • Calories: 200

  • Total Fat: 21.1g

  • Saturated Fat: 3.0g

  • Cholesterol: 1mg

  • Sodium: 20mg

  • Potassium: 76mg

  • Total Carbohydrates: 2g

  • Dietary Fiber: 0.9g

  • Protein: 2.4g

  • Sugars: 0g

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, based on 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 essential to strong bones. You also get about 6 g of protein per serving of pesto. A basil-based pesto also contains a number of flavonoids, compounds that support cell structure and help fight disease-causing free radicals. 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, which supports heart health. In fact, if you use unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats, you may actually experience an improvement in your cholesterol levels. Replace butter and cream sauces, such as Alfredo or carbonera, with pesto to help support this switch. Some commercial varieties of pesto contain up to 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, blend together 3 cups fresh basil leaves, 1 1/2 cups pine nuts, 4 peeled cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and 1 cup olive oil. Experiment with different ingredients as well; you could substitute walnuts, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, for the pine nuts, cilantro or mint for the basil, and Romano cheese for the Parmesan. If you are unable to eat dairy, leave the cheese out altogether.

Sauvignon blancs that have more of the grassy and grapefruit flavors.


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