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Pesto Sauce

Pesto is one of the nicest, easiest and healthiest Italian sauce recipes you can make.

It is also very quick to make and perfect for a mid week pasta dinner.

Traditionally this sauce recipe is made with fresh basil leaves, ground with extra virgin olive oil, garlic and cheese.

This recipe adds a few sprigs of fresh parsley, another favorite Italian herb.

Fresh pesto is a very healthy sauce. The basil, parsley, olive oil and garlic are all wonderfully healthy ingredients. Eat this great pesto recipe as often as you want.

If you’re lucky enough to have fresh basil growing in your garden, this recipe is the perfect use. Serve it over pasta with cut-up pieces of chicken.

This recipe comes from a wonderful cookbook that I will forever keep on my cookbook shelf as a reference book. It is 500 Best Sauces, Salad Dressings, Marinades and More by George Geary.

As it’s title implies, it has hundreds of recipes you will want to refer to over and over again for sauces, marinades, rubs and dressings.

Find our full review of George’s cookbook here.

George says:
“Basil and parsley need to be washed well to remove all sand and dirt. Be sure to dry them well. If the basil and parsley are not dried completely, the pesto will have a watered-down taste. I like to use an herb spinner to get out the excess water.”

The traditional Italian pesto adds toasted pine nuts to the recipe. You will see that as a variation just below the recipe.

Italian basil pesto.

Pesto Sauce

Pesto is one of the nicest, easiest and healthiest Italian sauce recipes you can make. It is also very quick to make and perfect for a mid week pasta dinner.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 277 kcal


  • 6 ounces Parmesan cheese, cut into chunks
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
  • 3/4 cup olive oil, extra virgin, divided
  • 8 sprigs Italian parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch black pepper, freshly ground


  • In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, with motor running, add Parmesan through feed tube and process until grated. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
  • In same work bowl fitted with a metal blade, process basil leaves, 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the oil, parsley and garlic until finely chopped, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add remaining oil and the Parmesan and pulse until well blended, 2 to 3 seconds.
  • Makes 1 1/2 cups


  • If not using immediately, scrape sauce into a jar or plastic container. Top with 1/4 cup (50 mL) olive oil and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 year.
  • When you are ready to use the saucer, place it in the refrigerator for 1 day to defrost.


Calories: 277kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 8gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 342mgPotassium: 50mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 585IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 267mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  • For a traditional pesto with a slightly nutty taste, add 1/2 cup (125 mL) toasted pine nuts when you pulse the pesto for the last time.

Pesto is a wonderful diabetic recipe. It is full of nutrition and quite low carb. Most diabetics can’t handle the amount of carbs in a whole meal of pasta so my suggestion for a great diabetes diet meal is to serve the pesto over grilled chicken and vegetables. Add in a small amount of pasta if your body can tolerate it.

Pesto is just one delicious Italian sauce. Find many more tempting Italian recipes here.

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Italian basil pesto.

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