Guide to Making Basil Pesto

Guide to Making Basil Pesto

Are you a fan of Italian cuisine? If so, you're probably familiar with the delicious flavours of basil pesto. This versatile sauce is not only delicious but also incredibly easy to make. In this blog post, we'll share with you the ultimate recipe for this pesto, along with the calorie content, nutritional value breakdown, storage instructions, and additional alternatives for gluten-free and vegan options. We'll also suggest some delicious pairings for this tasty sauce.

An Interesting Fact

The pesto is a sauce that originated in Italy, specifically in the region of Liguria. It is closely associated with the city of Genoa, where it is known as "pesto alla genovese." The word "pesto" comes from the Italian verb "pestare," which means to pound or crush, referring to the traditional method of making the sauce.

The exact origins of basil pesto are believed to date back to ancient Roman times, where a similar sauce called "moretum" was made using ingredients like garlic, cheese, herbs, and olive oil. However, the modern version of basil pesto as we know it today developed in the Ligurian region of Italy.

Liguria, known for its lush green landscapes and favourable climate, is where basil thrives. The region's fertile soil and sunny Mediterranean climate provide ideal conditions for growing aromatic basil, which is the key ingredient in basil pesto.

The Recipe

Before we dive into the calorie content and nutritional value breakdown, let's start with the recipe for making this pesto. Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Add the basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, and Parmesan cheese to a food processor or blender.
  2. Pulse the ingredients until they are finely chopped.
  3. With the food processor or blender running, slowly add the olive oil until the pesto is smooth and creamy.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

That's it! Your delicious basil pesto is ready to enjoy.

Calorie Content and Nutritional Value Breakdown

Now, let's take a look at the calorie content and nutritional value breakdown of this delicious sauce. Here's what you can expect from a 2-tablespoon serving of basil pesto:

  • Calories: 123
  • Fat: 13g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 1g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Fibre: 0g
  • Sodium: 152mg

As you can see, basil pesto is a high-fat sauce. However, it does contain some nutritional value in the form of protein and calcium from the Parmesan cheese. It's also low in carbohydrates, making it a great choice for those on a low-carb diet.

Storage Instructions

Basil pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. To keep it fresh for longer, you can freeze it in an ice cube tray and then transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer bag. Frozen pesto can be stored for up to six months.

Alternatives for Gluten-Free and Vegan Options

If you're looking for gluten-free or vegan alternatives to the traditional basil pesto recipe, we've got you covered.

Gluten-Free Pesto

To make gluten-free basil pesto, simply swap out the pine nuts for a nut or seed that is gluten-free. Some great options include:

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds

Vegan Pesto

To make vegan basil pesto, omit the Parmesan cheese and replace it with a vegan-friendly alternative. Some great options include:

  • Nutritional yeast
  • Vegan Parmesan cheese
  • Cashews (for a creamier texture)

Pairings for Basil Pesto

Now that you've got your basil pesto ready to go, it's time to pair it with some delicious dishes. Here are a few ideas:

  • Pasta: Toss your favourite pasta with basil pesto for a quick and easy meal.
  • Bruschetta: Top toasted bread with basil pesto and fresh tomatoes for a tasty appetizer.
  • Grilled chicken: Brush basil pesto onto grilled chicken for a flavorful and healthy meal.
  • Caprese salad: Drizzle basil pesto over a classic Caprese salad for a delicious twist.


Basil pesto is a delicious and versatile sauce that can be used in a variety of dishes. Whether you're looking for a quick and easy pasta sauce or a flavorful marinade for grilled chicken, this pesto is the perfect choice. And with our recipe, calorie content, nutritional value breakdown, storage instructions, and alternatives for gluten-free and vegan options, you can enjoy this tasty sauce without any guilt. So go ahead, give it a try, and let us know how you like it!

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