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Friday, June 21, 2024

Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe


One of the hardest adjustments when adapting to our grain-free lifestyle was finding substitutes for classic Italian foods. Ingredients like pasta, mozzarella cheese, and gnocchi are harder when you’re gluten-free and dairy-free.

While we’ve since incorporated some dairy and grains back into our meals, I’ve found I still like the healthy alternative recipes I created over the years. This easy pesto recipe with fresh basil is one of those. Fresh pesto sauce with garlic cloves and fresh basil has nothing on store-bought versions!

Best Pesto Recipe From Scratch

While store-bought pesto isn’t terrible, it’s hard to find one without unhealthy vegetable oils. Thankfully, basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow. I don’t have much of a green thumb, but even I can’t seem to kill it. In fact, one summer, we had three foot tall basil plants take over the garden.

I made big batches of this pesto when the basil was ready for harvest and froze it to use all year! This was much easier since the pesto was ready to go whenever I needed it.

Best of all, basil has a whole list of uses as a natural remedy in tonics, teas, and more. I tie any unused basil by the stems in bunches and hang them upside down to dry for future use. (Placing the basil in a paper bag is recommended to catch any crumbling leaves.)

Pesto Recipe Ingredients

Most pesto recipes rely on parmesan cheese or pecorino romano for a creamy tang. This version though is dairy-free (but still full of flavor!). Pesto is essentially a puree of fresh basil, nuts, olive oil, and garlic. It has a lovely green color and packs quite a flavor punch.

Many versions call for toasted pine nuts, but I use almonds instead. You could also try pecans, pistachios, cashews, or sunflower seeds for a nut-free version.

How to Use Pesto

There are plenty of different ways to use this delicious sauce! It tastes good with almost any Italian or pasta dish. I’ve even added a dollop of it on omelets, coconut flour biscuits (with savory fillings), and grain-free bread. Here are a few more ideas for how to use your pesto:

Storing Homemade Pesto

I mentioned earlier that I like to make this in big batches to store for later. If you don’t have that much basil on hand, then it also works well in the fridge and can keep for up to 2 weeks.

For an easy single-serve version I also like to pour the pesto into an ice cube tray and freeze. Then simply pop them out and store the cubes in a freezer-safe container. This way you can thaw out as many cubes as you need at a time.

pesto recipe

Basil Pesto Recipe

Fresh basil, garlic, and olive oil… what could be better?

  • 2 cups fresh basil (packed)
  • ½ cup raw almonds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼-1/2 cup olive oil (to desired consistency)
  • salt (to taste)
  • Put basil, almonds, and garlic in a blender.

  • Turn the blender on and slowly add the oil until the pesto is the desired consistency.

  • Add salt to taste.

  • Use right away or store in the fridge or freezer.

Nutrition Facts

Basil Pesto Recipe

Amount Per Serving (2 TBSP)

Calories 114
Calories from Fat 99

% Daily Value*

Fat 11g17%

Saturated Fat 1g6%

Polyunsaturated Fat 2g

Monounsaturated Fat 8g

Sodium 1mg0%

Potassium 86mg2%

Carbohydrates 2g1%

Fiber 2g8%

Protein 2g4%

Vitamin A 316IU6%

Vitamin C 1mg1%

Calcium 36mg4%

Iron 0.6mg3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

To freeze pesto, I like to put a few tablespoons in each compartment of an ice cube tray. When they’re frozen I dump them in a larger container with a lid and store them in the freezer.

Other Homemade Condiment Recipes:

How do you like basil pesto? Share below!

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