This homemade healthy pesto paste is super easy to make and very quick. Use it for soups, pastas, stews, chicken, bread, dips and more! If you freeze them into cubes, you’ll have a burst of flavor whenever you want. Be sure and read below about how to prevent bitter pesto.
It’s easy to make pesto: 1, 2, 3!
- Start by using freshly picked basil leaves. Use only the leaves, not the stems. Wash and pat them dry.
- Combine ingredients together in a food processor – except for the extra virgin olive oil.
- Transfer basil mix to a small bowl. Stir in olive oil. That’s it!
Have you ever made or had bitter pesto? This is the result from the oil being emulsified in the food processor . Overprocessing squeezes out the bitter tasting polyphenols and makes your pesto bitter. The first time I made pesto I was so disappointed. I barely had enough basil leaves to make the pesto and then I ruined it by pulsing the oil too much in the food processor . I was so sad! They say you can fix it with salt or more parmesan but this batch was completely ruined, there was no fixing it. I learned my lesson, always stir it in!
Homemade pesto lasts a few days in the refrigerator. In the freezer, it will last for months.
Yes, most definitely! Place it into ice cube trays (or whatever you have handy, I happen to use mini bundt pans) or freeze 1 tablespoon plops on parchment paper . Transfer to a plastic bag when frozen. Use as needed.
Add it to soups, pastas, stews, chicken and beef dishes and more! 1 tablespoon of flavor goes a long way!
How did I make this homemade pesto recipe healthy?
While this homemade pesto recipe still has 2 Freestyle Smart Points per tablespoon, it is healthier than other recipes. Traditionally homemade pesto recipes use more oil and also include pine nuts . Although I love pine nuts , I don’t think they are necessary for a healthy pesto. More oil makes the pesto thinner and richer, this version is more of a paste, has more flavor, less calories and points.
Easy Healthy Homemade Pesto
- 2 c. firmly packed fresh basil leaves washed, no stems or blooms
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 1/4 c. grated parmesan
- 1/4 t. kosher salt
- 1/8 t. black pepper - I like mine with a little zip use less if you don't
- 3 T. quality extra virgin olive oil I use Hojiblanca from Trio Carmel
- Wash basil and pat dry. Place in food processor.
- Add garlic, parmesan, salt and pepper.
- Process until finely chopped.
- Transfer to a small bowl, add olive oil and combine well. (Note: if you add oil to food processor and over process, your pesto will be bitter, so just stir it in.)
- Place in ice cube trays or use Souper Cubes and freeze. Or store in refrigerator for a few days. Makes about 6 tablespoons.