July 8, 2012
Light Pesto Sauce

I LOVE pesto. And really, who doesn’t? Let’s look at traditional pesto ingredients:

  • Olive Oil
  • Basil
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Pine Nuts

Simply put, traditional pesto is a mixture of three delicious fats mixed with an herb. It should come then as no surprise that I love it. I would eat pesto every day on everything if I didn’t feel like I was spooning oil into my mouth with each bite. However, those feelings aren’t going to stop me from eating pesto. It’s summer and my tomatoes need pesto, my pasta needs pesto, my sandwiches need pesto… you get the story.

I also have enough basil from my garden to fill my kitchen and nothing sounds better than…. pesto.

This was my attempt at a light pesto sauce that I could make (and eat) weekly. Creamy white northern beans are the perfect sub for olive oil, and walnuts make an inexpensive sub for pine nuts.

Quick weeknight dinner: whole-wheat pasta, halved heirloom cherry tomatoes (thank you EatWell Farms CSA) and pesto.

So, enjoy. A pesto you can eat every day on anything you can get your hands on, without the excess fat.


3 large bunches basil (About 1-1.5 cups packed basil leaves)
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 cup white northern beans (Cannelini beans)
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tbsp. water (preferably pasta water if your making this to go with pasta)
1/2 tbsp. white wine vinegar

Put all of the ingredients in a food processor. Coursely chop until the mixture looks like fine meal. With the blade running, pour in the olive oil and continue to process for ~1 minute until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, slowly add more water.

Eat. Enjoy finding foods you didn’t even know pesto tasted good with.

Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

  1. Making use of the population-weighted AMDR midpoint approach would outcome in an insignificant reduction from the DRV
    of 65 g (rounded from 30 % of a two,000 calorie diet regime) to 60 g
    (rounded from 28 percent of calories), which could imply a higher level
    of precision in a DRV than is actually true. The
    DRV of 30 % of calories fits within the AMDR and represents a moderate worth that is not close to the upper or lower levels of the AMDR.

  2. Hi
    Sorry I took so long to read your reply. Thank you, I will try using miso. I have bought some to use with your ricotta (I’m not sure it is the white one, it’s actually pink in colour :-/)
    I will let you know how it turns out.

  3. Your basil recipe looks fabulous. I am trying to eat a vegan diet. I love pesto & parmesan so it’s difficult to find a good substitute. I don’t really want to use ‘nutritional yeast’. Is there something I could use instead. 🙂

    • Thanks for commenting! I like using nutritional yeast as a substitute for Parmesan cheese because it taste very similar. However, you really don’t need it. I’ve made pesto many times without it and it still taste wonderful. If your looking to get that “umami” taste that cheese gives to sauces, try a tbsp. of white miso paste. I’ve never done this in pesto but have done it several times in dressings and it always comes out great. If anyone has any other ideas- let me know! And Avril, if you try this please let us know how it turns out.

leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.