Pesto has always been one of my favourite sauces to make and enjoy for tossing pasta. The refreshing taste from basil is an unbeatable flavour, and it’s even better when paired with a little lemon juice and garlic.
I love to use this recipe for pasta, pizza, and sandwiches.
Is Pesto healthy? Pesto can be a great source of many good nutrients in a small amount. And of course like many other things, is even better for you when you make it yourself. Often times store bought versions contain unnecessary ingredients and preservatives. But you don’t have to worry about those things when you are making this delicious recipe from home. And not only is it good for you, it’s tasty, super quick and easy. It’s a win, win, win situation.
The most common type of pesto is made with the use of basil. This tends to be my favourite kind. For this recipe I also like to add spinach, as it gives it an extra boost of micronutrients, provides more volume to the sauce, and you don’t taste it due to the dominance from the basil powerhouse.
I have a few secret ingredients that are a little different than the average pesto recipe. They are avocado and nutritional yeast. I’ve highlighted all of the goodness that avocado’s provide in my healthy Fudgsicle Recipe. But let’s talk about nutrtitional yeast here for a minute.
I first bought nutritional yeast about a year ago when I heard some influencers talking about it, but not really knowing what to do with it. I have found some great ways to put it to use over the year, and this pesto happens to be one of them. Nutritional yeast is a vegan friendly source of protein. Like all other things, it is recommended to consume nutritional yeast in moderation, and not having a large amount, so don’t go eating spoonfuls lol. However, it is a great way to add a little protein into whatever you are using it for, as well as lots of good nutrients. Nutritional yeast is packed with B-vitamins, one being B12 which is a vitamin that is not found in plant foods unless added through supplements.
I like to think of nutritional yeast as a cheese replacement as it has a very similar taste to cheese. Therefore why I use it in this recipe to give the pesto a cheesy hint instead of using parmesan. That being said, you can also use parmesan for this recipe.
Other ways to use this new ingredient is sprinkling on top of popcorn, in omelettes, soup, this list goes on.
Avocado Pesto Recipe
Yield: 1 C Prep time: 5 minutes
- 1 C fresh basil
- 1 1/2 C spinach
- 1 medium avocado
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp lemon (about 1/2 lemon juiced)
- 1/4 C nutritional yeast*
- 1/4 C pistashios**
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp each salt & pepper (to taste)***
*Nutritional yeast can be subbed for regular parmesan as well
**I have also used sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds for this recipe and have had equal success.
***May need more or less salt depending on if your nuts/seeds are salted or not. Add to your liking.
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend to combine.
- Scrape down the sides as needed.
- Enjoy the pesto sauce however you like.
My favourite way to prepare this pesto
Pesto penne with shrimp
- Prepare penne according to package. My favourite is the Catelli gluten free brand.
- Cook shrimp along with whatever veggies you would like. A few that I would recommend are zucchini, cherry tomato’s, bell peppers, kalmata olives.
- Combine everything together once the pasta is ready and toss pesto in with the shrimp and penne.
(Like many other things, this recipe is also delicious with spiralled sweet potato noodles)
Per 1/8 of the recipe
Calories: 111 Total fat: 10g Sodium: 302mg Carbohydrates: 5g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 1g Protein: 3g