Under 30 Minutes

Lighter Pesto

Load up on intense flavor, and pare down on calories with less oil, fewer nuts-and more basil. We served this better-for-you pesto over whole-wheat pasta. Since fresh basil is at its peak now, double up on the classic sauce.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 3/4 cup
Lighter Pesto

Source: Everyday Food, July/August 2007


  • 3 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves (2 ounces total)
  • 3 tablespoons walnut pieces
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  1. In a food processor, combine basil, walnuts, Parmesan, garlic, lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons water; season with salt and pepper. Puree until a paste forms.

  2. With motor running, add oil in a thin stream. Process until very smooth, about 1 minute.

Cook's Notes

Refrigerate the extra pesto in an airtight container, with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface, up to 3 days.


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