Pesto Recipe

Homemade pesto will dramatically elevate your culinary game.  Honestly, once you make your own pesto, a store-bought version will never come close!  Packed with ingredients such as basil, extra virgin olive oil, and garlic, this mighty sauce can uplift many staple recipes while giving you a flavorful nutrient boost.  This variation deviates from a traditional pesto recipe using Manchego cheese and macadamia nuts for a fun twist.

Pesto Recipe

Pesto Recipe

Sauces are a great way to add more flavor and nutrient density to your snack or meal.  Pesto is a simple condiment that packs a combination of immune and metabolic supporting nutrients.  This staple is a versatile way to enjoy healing compounds like rosmarinic acid in basil, allicin in garlic, and monounsaturated fats in extra virgin olive oil.  You will be looking for ways to add this sauce to your favorite meals.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 Servings


  • Food Processor


  • ½ cup macadamia nuts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 pinch ground pepper or to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil extra virgin


  • Pulse the Manchego cheese, macadamia nuts, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic in the food processor until finely chopped.
  • Add basil and pulse until combined.
  • Drizzle olive oil into the mixture while the blade is still running.   Pulse until combined.  Add more olive oil for a smoother pesto.


  1. Serving suggestions:  Enjoy pesto with noodles, roasted veggies, mozzarella/tomato salad, or pizza.  Spread some on a turkey sandwich or wrap.  Drizzle over a hard-boiled egg or scrambled eggs for a breakfast twist.  
  2. Kitchen Tip:  Store your pesto in an airtight glass container in the fridge for a few days.  To reduce the surface from turning brown, cover your pesto with an extra drizzle of olive oil.
  3. Buy in bulk:  Looking for a deal?  Farmer’s markets often sell basil in bulk at much cheaper prices than the grocery store.  
  4. For the pesto traditionalist:  You can always stick with the classic fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, extra-virgin olive oil and parmesan cheese recipe.  Always a winner!  
  5. Running low on herbs?  Add in arugula, spinach, or kale to stretch the basil in your recipe with the added benefit of more nutritional complexity.  
  6. Start a home garden:  Growing your own herbs makes this recipe extra fun.  Whether it be a home tower garden, planter box, or AeroGarden, basil is a fast growing, happy herb which means you don’t need a “green thumb” to have a steady supply of basil for your favorite pesto recipe.  Plus being a part of your food cycle from beginning to end adds an extra dose of gratitude which always amplifies the health value of your meal.  
  7. Watch store bought pesto:  Most pesto sold in grocery stores use canola, safflower, or sunflower oils.  Make sure you read your labels!  Extra bonus, your pesto not only will have great fats, but it is also way cheaper in comparison.   
  8. Fun variations:  Switch out herbs like mint, cilantro, or parsley for some fun variations.  You can also swap for walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, almonds, pistachios, or pecans.  To make it nut free you can use pumpkin or hemp seeds.  Leave out the cheese to make it vegan.
From my kitchen to yours,
Dr. Gesik
Keyword Basics, Gluten Free, Immune Health, KId Friendly, Metabolic Health
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