Pesto Sauce

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Pesto Sauce

This versatile little sauce can be used as a marinade for grilling fish or chicken.  It’s wonderful on low-carb “mock noodle” Italian dishes.  I’ve made a very tasty spaghetti squash dish with this as well. It’s also a delightful addition to salads made of tomatoes, olives, quinoa or cucumber.  I’ve even put this into wild rice pilaf and wild rice salads.

NOTE:  You may be wondering why no Parmesan cheese, a usual ingredient in this classic sauce.  I prefer to add that as I prepare recipes, as I like it omitted when using as a meat marinade, but like it included in my Italian recipes.  :)  Just add 1T. Parmesan right before using the sauce for that cheesy taste!  This recipe is Induction friendly if you leave out the nuts.  It is suitable for Keto diets, Primal and Paleo as well.

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DISCLAIMER: By personal choice, I do not accept payment for this book promotion nor for the inclusion of my recipes therein. I do so merely because they are GREAT cookbooks any low-carb cook would be proud to add to their cookbook collection.


½ c. olive oil

20 fresh sweet basil leaves (you may like more, but too much basil disagrees with my tummy)

1 oz. pine nuts, ground (or walnuts, almonds or macadamias)

2 cloves garlic, minced

Pinch of salt

Dash Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

DIRECTIONS:   Place all ingredients in your blender or food processor and pulse a few times to chop/blend it.  If not using it all up at once, store in a tightly lidded jar in your refrigerator.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  This makes about 3/4 cup of sauce, or 12 T.  Each tablespoon will contain:

94.17 calories

10.2 g  fat

.67 g carbs, .33 g fiber, .35 NET CARBS

.56 g  protein

9 mg sodium

14 comments on “Pesto Sauce

  1. I will have to ask DD about fresh basil right now but I have pleanty I have dried myself.. About how much dry would or could you use..????
    please advise.. thank so much


    • I’ve never made pesto sauce with dried, because I find the two to be so different in taste, as well as appearance. Most sources will tell you for every 1T. of fresh, use 1 tsp. of dried. That said, I don’t think you’d be happy using dried in a pesto sauce Sheila.


  2. Miss Peggy… I have read this wonderful page and Hey I am not from N.C.. just a replanted Iowa gal in GA.. but I want you to know … I totally Agree with all they have said…. I to help run a group on Healthycuisine and the others can be on any plan they like… but I have lived Low Carb for over 3 yrs now and will have it no other way.. I will not regain the 200+ pounds I lost with gastric by pass long ago.. but it tried.. slippin’ up… NOW WAY… so I live this way and LOVE IT..
    so the new idea’s you give me are AWSOME.. and I know they will taste good.. we have a huge herb garden and i do not know what to do with most of it.. so this really helps me out..
    thank you dear lady for all you do..
    many blessings and God Bless


    • Thanks you for you thoughtful, kind words, Sheila. I started this website to help folks like you make this way of eating as fun and exciting as it can be. I’m thoroughly convinced it’s the only way to stick with ANY plan long enough to lose weight, but more importantly, to CONTINUE whatever plan so that lost weight doesn’t creep back. I’m glad my taste preferences seem to match your closely enough for you to like many of my creations. And God bless you for taking the time to tell me so.


  3. Peggy, Who wants yet another low-carb cookbook?

    Only every one of us who has tried your recipes, and knows that they are above and beyond the ordinary!!

    I just made this pesto sauce because I got bored & tried it a couple months ago & LOVED it. (It even wakes up a bag of frozen mixed veggies!)

    You have gotten me actually cooking, and from scratch, no less…that is quite a feat in & of itself, Peggy.🙂 Your fabulous gift for spices, seasonings, textures, and flavors…persisting until you find the best…is inspiring. Even I am cooking now, instead of mostly fast, processed foods…because of you. Your recipes are worth it…yet still quick!

    Thank you. And with his whole heart, my HUSBAND thanks you!😀


  4. Absolutely outstanding!!

    Peggy, and now I want to hear your excuse for not writing a cook book!. See you can put Duke University as benefiting from * YOUR * work.

    Congratulations to both you Lynne and to you Peggy.



    • Thanks for your kind words, Nancy. They mean a lot. But publishing cookbooks is more work than I want. Heck, I’m ENJOYING retirement and my time in the kitchen too much to get into editing books and such. My site would likely suffer if I got deep into doing a low-carb cookbook. Absence is the kiss of death for a recipe website. Besides, there is a plethora of LC cookbooks out there NOW. Who wants yet another? I may change my mind, but it’s just so easy to share my recipes on the site. I don’t see a cookbook on the horizon. But I thank you for thinking (and saying) you think I could make a go of it! Warms the heart. 🙂


  5. Hi!! omg…you totally have a “fan club” here and I’m definitely self-appointed president!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all you are doing!! (Just shared your site with an endocrinology resident/MD and nutrition fellow/PhD who were in meeting with me this morning at Duke. Both wanted/needed low carb recipes, as they’ve recently started low-carbing themselves…so I promptly sent them both links to your site, as we conversed (thank God for Blackberry!). Please don’t ever doubt the power of your posts…the gift you give all of us everytime you create and post another recipe out there for us. You are changing lives, helping others improve health and quality of life through all that you have done and are doing. And I am so grateful!! Please let me know if you’re ever coming back to North Carolina for a visit…would love to have you visit with us in our Low Carb Support group here anytime (Dr. Eric Westman is our group leader, and I assist). Can’t wait to get home tonight and start on my Pesto Sauce! Will keep you posted and will be anxiously awaiting your next recipe post! (Glad to send you my email address, also, so we can keep in touch, if you’re not able to see it on the blog site). Have a wonderful rest of the day there – and thank you so very, very much again! Lynne🙂


    • Oh my, Lynne, now you’re really blowing me away. 🙂 Dr. Westman is your group leader?! Oh my, I have a fan club that close to one of the leading voices for the low-carb nutritional lifestyle. His reputation precedes your post. 🙂 Does he do cyber-autographs? Just kidding! But you’ve totally made my day! 🙂

      The pesto sauce recipe isn’t so special, but a forum member asked me for one today, so I dug mine out and posted it.

      Yes, I can see your email and will add it to my address book. Thanks. You know where to find ME!🙂


    • I posted the recipe on the forum, too. Thought I’d already posted this recipe last year. Well, it’s on the site now. Hope you like it.


  6. Hi! It’s “brandnewday” from the Atkins site…just wanted to thank you for your very kind post last evening re: my low carb “results’…and most importantly, I wanted to let you know that your beautiful recipes have been a huge reason why I’ve been able to lose 130 lbs. since November 2009. You are a godsend and I just wanted to say “Thank you!!” from bottom of my heart for all you have done and are doing for all of us out here who are making life-saving changes in our diet and nutrition choices. I help lead a low carb support group here at Duke, also (in addition to my other work), and your wonderful recipes are always topic of conversation at our monthly meetings. We just had our June meeting this week, but I’m going to make some of the beautiful “Toasted Coconut Candy” you posted yesterday for our July meeting – always such fun to do “tastings” and we love your recipes!! (I include your blog link in our monthly meeting recap, too…so hopefully, there are others from the group signing on, too – there are at least 50 other “low carbers” here locally following you…not to mention about 10 of us from my office here!). It’s a joy to see what you’re going to post next…and I believe I speak on all of our behalfs when I say your “low-carb labors of love and deliciousness” in the kitchen could not be more enjoyed or more appreciated!! (I’ve got a ton of basil growing at home right now, too…so guess what I’ll be doing in the kitchen this evening!). Thank you so much again!! And best and brightest blessings always – you and your wonderful recipes are treasures and blessings to a lot of folks! 🙂 Lynne


    • Oh my gosh, that’s just about the nicest “letter” I’ve ever received, Lynne. My eyes watered up reading this. I’m always afraid someone won’t like the recipes I’ve chosen to post. I should know you can’t please everyone by now. Sometimes I agonize whether this one or that one is worthy of an internet post. Your kind words make this endeavor so worthwhile. You know, I almost didn’t start up this site at all two years ago. I thought it would be over my head (setting up the site and all). I was also afraid of how much time it all might take out of my other life. But I’ve gotten the posting effort down to a fine art now and can crank one out, start to finish, in about 30 minutes, rather than the hour or so it took me in the beginning. And the wonderful feedback from folks like yourself has just spurred me on in this project. And being a North Carolina tarheel myself, born in Goldsboro, it means more than you know to think I have a regular following at Duke University! I’m flabbergasted! Thank you so much for taking the time to send this lovely note. And again, you must be jumping up and down with joy over losing all the weight you have. What an inspiration to your group you must be! If I played any part in such an incredible weight loss journey, I’m honored indeed, my dear. Best of luck with your support group’s endeavors and may you have a healthy, new life ahead of you. And do “stay tuned”, as I’m adding new recipes all the time!


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