DJ Foodielow-carb, low carb, sugar free, sugar-free, gluten-free, gluten free, primal, paleo

Pesto alla Genovese

Prep: 20 min | Cook: 0 min | Total: 20 min | Servings:8


Pesto alla Genovese
Pesto alla Genovese
Pesto alla Genovese
Pesto (a word stemming from the Italian word for "pounded") is that bright green paste-like stuff that tastes great on pretty much everything. It's up there with bacon and Heinz Ketchup, in terms of a perfect flavor. It's a very traditional sauce originating in Northern Italy. It's basically a mixture of basil, pine nuts and cheese, but the combination is OH so much more than the sum of its parts!

This particular recipe makes about a cup's worth of bright, vibrant, garlicky goodness. It's not uncommon for me to throw a few chili flakes in there ... I like that little bit of zap!

I'm counting each serving as two tablespoons (for a total of 8 servings). I tend to make this in large batches, then divide it into little mason jars topped with a layer of extra virgin olive oil. I refrigerate one and freeze the others. I add pesto to A LOT of things, from spreads on sandwiches, to using as a dip, to a pesto cream sauce, or as layers within a green lasagna. Try carefully rubbing it under the skin of a whole chicken, then roasting it. YUM!!!

This sauce is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle, but this recipe is for a food processor ('cause it's what I have). To do it the old-school way ... start with the salt and garlic in a mortar and move the pestle around in a circular fashion. After a paste has been formed, add the basil and lemon juice. Pound. Then, add the oil, and continue pounding. Finally, add the cheese and toasted pine nuts! Pound to consistency and adjust seasoning.

It's really one of those perfect foods ...

. .
IngredientsCaloriesFatProteinCarbsFiberSA'sNet Carbs
3 each (9g)  garlic cloves, diced13013003
2/3 cup (144g)  extra virgin olive oil (Buy Now) 1273.3314400000
2 cups (141g)  packed, cleaned and dried fresh basil leaves (about a large bunch's worth)32.431.414.234.232.8201.41
2 tsp (10g)  lemon juice2.5400.88.0400.84
1/4 cup (33.75g)  pine nuts, toasted227.25234.54.51.2503.25
1/4 cup (25g)  parmesan (reggiano) cheese, grated107.757.259.51001
1/4 cup (25g)  pecorino (romano) cheese, grated50440000
salt and pepper, to taste0000000
Totals (of 8 Servings):1706.3179.66g23.23g13.61g4.11g0g9.5g
Per Serving:213.2922.46g2.9g1.7g0.51g0g1.19g *


  1. Add the garlic, salt and half of the olive oil to a food processor, with a sharp blade.
  2. Pulse the processor and blend for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the basil and lemon juice, then pulse for a further 30 seconds.
  4. Add the pine nuts and cheeses and then pulse to your desired consistency. If it's too thick, add more olive oil to adjust the consistency. I tend to like mine a bit on the paste-y rough side, but some like it smooth and saucy.
  5. Use immediately or store covered with a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil. This will help prevent the pesto from turning brown and will allow it to last longer in the fridge.

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* Learn More: More about this recipe and nutrition ...


Mix this pesto with homemade mayo, thin with a little olive oil as necessary, and use as a salad dressing.  Yummy!

 Becky  2/19/2016


---Reply posted by DJ on 2/20/2016
Hi Becky, yep! I've actually got a recipe that goes a bit further, elsewhere on the site. I mix pesto, mayo, sour cream, parmesan and some artichoke hearts and use it as a dip. It's FANTASTIC! Check it out! :-)

Hi Peggy ... walnuts are pretty common, although really nut would work. Blanched almonds, for example, would help maintain a nice green color (lightly toast them, though). Pecans, macadamias, etc. Pretty much anything will work. I hope this helps!

 DJ  10/1/2014


---Reply posted by BambiO on 4/11/2015
This recipe looks so good but my husband and I have both had "pine mouth" after eating pine nuts and will never knowingly eat them again. Thank you so much for your suggestions for substitutions.

what nut would be a good substitute for low carb's. I am deadly allergic to pine nuts. :(

 Peggy  10/1/2014