Sweet basil pesto

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Sweet basil pesto
Pesto-cubes Make friends with someone who grows basil or buy several bunches at your local farmers' market. Play a little music while you pick the leaves off the stems, toast some pine nuts, grate some parmesan cheese, smash and remove the skins from garlic cloves, and plug in the food processor. You can also do this with a mortar and pestle if you are feeling real earthy. The resulting pesto is concentrated goodness. You may not need but a tablespoon or so per serving of whole grain pasta or for other dishes. We will see what the nutritional analysis ultimately shows, but my rough guess is around 12 gms of fat per Tablespoon --- much of it will be "healthy" fats. I made four times the recipe as I planned to freeze it. First I put some in a small freezer bag then decided to do what I do with Meyer lemon juice --- make 2 Tablespoon cubes in the ice cube tray as pictured above. I think you will really like this.

Servings: 3/4 cup


  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves --- you could also use parsley or arugula
  • 2 small or one big garlic clove, smashed with the side of a knife and the skin removed
  • 1/4 pine nuts, toasted lightly in a skillet--walnuts are good also
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste


Pulse the garlic briefly in the food processor. Pulse the basil, maybe a half cup at a time. Add the pine nuts and cheese. Pulse briefly. With the processor running add the olive oil slowly just until incorporated. Salt to taste.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • (Per 1/12 of recipe, or about 1 Tablespoon)
  • Calories: 109
  • Fat: 12 gm
  • Saturated fat: 2 gm
  • Trans fat: 0 gm
  • Cholesterol: 2 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 1 gm
  • Fiber: 0 gm
  • Sodium: 81 mg
  • Protein: 1 gm