This healthy homemade pesto recipe is quick, easy, and so flavorful. Making your own pesto is worlds better than store bought in my opinion. And as a bonus, this recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free!
healthy homemade pesto ingredients
Olive Oil: First and foremost, olive oil is the base of this pesto sauce. I find that a high-quality, high-grade olive oil makes a big difference in flavor, but any olive oil will do.
Basil & Spinach Leaves: For that beautiful green color and classic pesto taste. You can use any fresh herbs or greens of your choosing, but I typically stick to basil, spinach, parsley, or kale.
Pine Nuts or Cashews: I’ve used both cashews and pine nuts- separately and together in this recipe. They’re both delicious options! The cashews and pine nuts will add a slightly nutty flavor and an amazing texture to your sauce.
Garlic: Always garlic, right?!
Nutritional Yeast: If you don’t know, nutritional yeast is a dairy-free and vegan substitute for creating a cheesy flavor. I love using it in recipes that call for parmesan. Additionally, it’s paleo and whole30 friendly.
Lemon Juice: For a tangy contrast to the other ingredients. You can always add more to taste as well.
how to use homemade pesto?
As a pasta sauce. The most classic way to use homemade pesto is as a pasta sauce. It’s fresh, flavorful, and you can’t go wrong!
As a dip. Pesto is absolutely delicious to use as a dip for veggies! I love using carrots, cucumbers, or cherry tomatoes. If this sounds good, check out my homemade pesto hummus recipe!
As a topping for bowls and sandwiches. Adding a bit of pesto to a toasted sandwich of warm grain bowl is so good!
For pesto rice. Something new I’ve been having for dinner is something I call “pesto rice” (see photo below). I combine cooked rice, cooked chicken breast, homemade pesto, cherry tomatoes, and top with drizzled balsamic glaze. It is so simply and a delicious dinner option! To see more, check out my Instagram reels (@livehealthywithlexi)
In pesto pasta salad. In the springtime, I love making this pesto pasta salad, warm or cold!
Healthy Homemade Pesto
- Food Processor
- 1/4 cup olive oil high quality
- 1/2 cup pine nuts or cashews
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves packed
- 1 cup spinach leaves
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast or parmesan
- 1 tbsp water
- 1/4 tsp salt more to taste
- cracked black pepper to taste
- Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth! Serve with pasta, rice, on sandwiches, etc. Enjoy!