Basic Basil Pesto

Basic Basil Pesto

11 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)
  • ¼ cup walnut pieces, toasted (see Tip)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 large clove garlic, quartered
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ 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 11

July 07, 2018
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By: Penny Calla
you can eliminate the salt since cheese is being added. Cheese always adds salt to any recipe so salt should be reduced or eliminated. We eliminate it
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. 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!
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!
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.)
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.
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
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.
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