Healthy Pesto Sauce Recipes

Find healthy, delicious pesto sauce recipes, from the food and nutrition experts at EatingWell.

Staff Picks

Zucchini Noodles with Pesto & Chicken

Rating: 5 stars 13
This healthy summer dinner subs zoodles for pasta to help use up your zucchini bounty--as well as slash calories and carbs. Once the spiralized zucchini has time to soak up the herby pesto sauce, this chicken and pesto pasta makes particularly good leftovers.

Avocado Pesto

Rating: 4.73 stars 10
Avocados add a silky consistency and cheese-like richness to this dairy-free pesto recipe. Toss it with pasta, spread it on baguette slices to make bruschetta, or use it for a healthy mayo substitute on your sandwich.

Simple Vegan Pesto Zoodles

Zucchini noodles, or "zoodles," are a gluten-free, low-calorie substitute for traditional pasta in this easy and fresh vegan dinner. For best results, toss the zucchini pasta with the basil pesto sauce and serve right away.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Rating: 4 stars 2
A creamy pesto sauce turns this simple pasta salad into a delightful dinner. Adding broccoli to the pasta cooking water just before the pasta is done is a convenient way to briefly cook it so that it turns a vivid shade of green and softens slightly.

Arugula Pesto

Rating: 4 stars 1
This fresh arugula pesto recipe is a great way to use the flavorful spring vegetable. Try tossing arugula pesto with pasta, spread it on pizza instead of tomato sauce or use it as the base for a vegetable dip.

Vegan Pesto

Nutritional yeast gives this vegan pesto a cheesy flavor, while cashews make it creamy. For a nuttier flavor, use dry-roasted cashews or toast them yourself in the oven before processing. Smear this simple spread on sandwiches, toss with warm pasta, or use it as dip for crudités.

Roasted Carrot Tart with Carrot-Green Pesto

Rating: 5 stars 4
In this vegetarian main-dish recipe, you use the entire carrot from root to greens, so there's less waste. Roasted carrots are layered on top of a creamy ricotta base with pesto made using the green tops from carrots. Untrimmed carrots can be tough to find, but when you do, cut off the tops and store them separately or they'll draw moisture from the carrots. If you don't have carrot greens, use 1 cup of parsley instead.

Basic Basil Pesto

Rating: 4.45 stars 5
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.

Pea Pesto Gnocchi with Burrata

Rating: 5 stars 2
Here we pan-fry gnocchi to get them crispy, then coat them with a pesto-like sauce made with sweet peas, spinach, basil and cashews.
A portrait of Breana Killeen, M.P.H., RD
By Breana Lai Killeen, M.P.H., RD

Classic Basil Pesto

Rating: 4 stars 1
Turn the bounty of summer basil into a delicious sauce with this easy pesto recipe. Try it stirred into a tomato or potato salad, or spread onto a sandwich in place of your favorite condiment.

Roasted Tomato & Almond Pesto

Rating: 4.9 stars 2
The delightful richness of Ellie Krieger's sundried tomato and almond pesto is a perfect partner for nutty whole-wheat pasta. It's also delicious spread on grilled chicken.

Tarragon Pesto

Rating: 5 stars 2
The French flavor of tarragon inspires this pesto, which is wonderful stirred into a simple fish or chicken soup and brings a je ne sais quoi to chicken salad.
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Inspiration and Ideas

The Best Avocado Pesto
Avocados add a silky consistency and richness to this vegan pesto recipe.
Pesto Pork Pinwheels
Stuff lean pork tenderloin with pesto for delicious flavor from the inside out.
Goat Cheese Pesto

The taste of soft goat cheese is more present in this California version of pesto than Parmigiano-Reggiano is in a basil pesto. Consider it a multidimensional recipe: dip, sauce and spread.