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Home-made Red Pesto

12. August 2013|Martina|6

I LOVE pesto and this recipe is one of my favourites. It's great for low-carb diets and thanks to herbs and tomatoes, it's loaded with potassium.

It goes great with meat, in salads or even as a dip with freshly cut vegetables. After I learnt how easy it is to make your own, I would never buy the ready-made product again.

Here is why you should make your own pesto:

  • You have complete control over what ingredients are used. I grow my own basil, use the best olive oil and no preservatives.
  • It's cheaper. You can make pesto in advance and freeze it for future uses.
  • It's delicious and you can experiment with flavours.

Preparation time:

 5-10 minutes   

Nutritional values (per serving, 1 tbsp; 15g / 0.5 oz):

Total Carbs1.8grams
Net Carbs1.3grams
of which Saturated1.1grams

Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (8%), protein (5.7%), fat (86.3%)

Ingredients (makes 440g / 15.5 oz jar, about 30 servings):

  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained (110g / 3.9 oz)
  • ½ cup macadamia nuts (60g / 2.1 oz)
  • ¼ cup cashew nuts (30g / 1.1 oz)
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated (30g / 1.1 oz)
  • ¼ cup tomato purée (60g / 2.1 oz)
  • ½ lemon, juice and zest or less to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic (or more to taste)
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (120 ml / 4 fl oz)
  • ½ tsp salt (I used pink Himalayan)

Note: Adding more garlic will have an impact on the net carbs content. Keep in mind that each extra clove will add ~ 1 gram of net carbs. When looking for ingredients, try to get them in their most natural form (organic, without unnecessary additives).


  1. Wash the basil, peel and mash the garlic, juice and zest the lemon. Place the oil, basil, garlic, lemon, nuts, sun-dried tomatoes and tomato purée into a food processor and pulse until smooth.
    Note: Sun-dried tomatoes usually come in a jar filled with oil. I don't use the oil unless it's extra virgin olive oil. In most cases, it's a mixture of sunflower and olive oil.
  2. Grate the parmesan cheese and add to the mixture. Pulse again 3-4 times.
  3. When done, use immediately or spoon the mixture in a glass jar, top with a bit of olive oil and seal properly with a lid.


You can keep your pesto in the fridge for up to a week or two if it's stored properly. It helps to pour a thin layer of olive oil on the top, as it keeps it fresh for longer. Whenever you use pesto, always remember to add a thin layer of olive oil on the top.

If you want to preserve home-made pesto for longer, freeze it in manageable portion sizes by putting it in an ice-cube tray and keep in a plastic bag in the freezer for up to 6 months. Whenever you need to use it, just keep the required portion at room temperature until it melts.

Comments (6) -

Simon 8/21/2013 9:15:03 AM #

Love it! I can't eat pine nuts which are in most pesto recipes and this is delicious!


Jackie 10/13/2013 8:09:16 PM #

<3 macadamia nuts... Thanks!


Cinda 12/31/2014 1:45:18 AM #

Allergies to macadamia and cashew nuts... any suggestions??


Martina @ KetoDiet 12/31/2014 2:19:57 AM #
Martina @ KetoDiet

Are you allergic to all nuts? You can try pine nuts if not... Or you can try sunflower seeds or just use more parmesan cheese.


Don 2/18/2015 5:59:58 AM #

How long can you store this for, say in mason jars??


Martina @ KetoDiet 2/18/2015 6:55:25 PM #
Martina @ KetoDiet

Hi Don, I store any pesto sauce for about 2 weeks - always with a layer of oil on top.


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