Pesto was one of those things that was kind of a mystery to me.  I knew it was used in some of my favorite dishes like pesto chicken or salmon with pesto.  I knew it could be added to spaghetti squash to make it rich and creamy and delicious.  And I knew it could be used as a delicious condiment that would make any sandwich or wrap instantly taste way better than mustard, mayo or any other dressing ever could.

What I did not know though, was what it was made from.  Maybe I was concerned that if I knew the ingredients, I would find out that it was not healthy and I would either have to give it up or feel guilty every time I ate it.  You can imagine my delight when I learned the truth!

As soon as I discovered how easy it was to make with only a few healthy, real food ingredients, I had to try it myself.

It couldn’t have been easier!

I can’t claim that this is a low calorie option, because, with the nuts, cheese, and oil, it’s definitely not.  But if you mix it with a lower calorie food like spaghetti squash, it’s a perfect balance of taste and calories.  I can say that it’s packed with healthy fats though that are an important part of our diet.

Here’s all you need to make your own classic basil pesto:

Basil leaves, olive oil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper.  If you grow your own basil, you’ve probably got plenty on hand and this is the perfect use for it.  I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be growing my own basil from now on!

Add all of the ingredients to your food processor.

Pulse until everything is blended together well.

And that’s it!  Seriously!  That is absolutely all there is to making your own pesto.  No peeling, chopping, slicing or dicing.  Start to finish in less than 5 minutes!

Enjoy it with spaghetti squash or regular pasta, add it to chicken or salmon, or spread it on a sandwich or wrap.  The possibilities are limitless!

Classic (and Easy) Basil Pesto

Ingredients

3 cups fresh basil
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
juice from 1/2 lemon (or to taste)
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Add ingredients to food processor.
Pulse until ingredients are combined and smooth.

How do you use pesto?  Do you have a favorite pesto recipe?  Tell me about it in the comments below!

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