Basil & Macadamia Pesto

4.3 stars, average of 12 ratings

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Pesto is one of the easiest low-carb & paleo condiments you can make at home. It literally takes just a few minutes to prepare and gives an amazing flavour boost to meat dishes, salads or even when used as a dip. All you need is fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley, etc.), nuts like macadamias, almonds or pine nuts (or sunflower seeds if you are allergic to nuts), healthy oils such as extra virgin olive oil and seasoning of choice (lemon juice, lemon peel, garlic, etc.). Those who can eat dairy should also try adding parmesan cheese! I prefer using soaked & dehydrated nuts (you can read more about the benefits of soaking nuts in this post). Also try:

Note for KetoDiet iPad users: This recipe will be added to the KetoDiet database in the upcoming update. This will make it easy for you to use this recipe as an ingredient to make your custom meals.

Hands-on Overall

Nutritional values (per 2 tbsp, 30 g / 1 oz)

1.1 grams 0.7 grams 1 grams 19.8 grams 2.8 grams 183 calories
Total Carbs1.8grams
Net Carbs1.1grams
of which Saturated2.8grams
Potassium & Magnesiumtrace

Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (2.4%), protein (2.1%), fat (95.5%)

Ingredients (makes 1 medium jar / 1 cup)

  • 2 cups fresh basil (30 g / 1.1 oz)
  • 1/3 cup macadamia nuts (45 g / 1.6 oz)
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts or more macadamia nuts (15 g / 0.5 oz)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (120 ml / 4 fl oz)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (30 g / 1.1 oz)

When looking for ingredients, try to get them in their most natural form (organic, without unnecessary additives).

A fun way to learn about healthy low-carb eating!
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  1. Wash the basil, peel and mash the garlic, juice and zest the lemon.
    Basil & Macadamia Pesto
  2. Place the oil, basil, garlic, lemon, macadamia and pine nuts, salt and pepper into a food processor ...
    Basil & Macadamia Pesto
  3. ... and pulse until smooth. Optionally, add grated parmesan cheese and pulse for a few more seconds.
    I used Bamix hand blender with a chopping bowl attachment. Basil & Macadamia Pesto
  4. 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. Basil & Macadamia Pesto

Tips for storing:

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. 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.

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Martina Slajerova
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Martina Slajerova

I changed the way I ate in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. I had no energy, and I found it more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s when I decided to quit sugar, grains, and processed foods, and to start following a whole-foods-based ketogenic approach to food.

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Comments (6)

I made this last night and served it with zoodles and was Perfect!  Satisfied my pasta craving.  


Awesome! Thanks for making my recipe Maggie 😊


I made this at lunchtime.  OMG.  It is so truly amazing. Yum yum


Thank you Catherine, glad you liked it! 😊


Love the you're using macadamia nuts! Do you think I just just use more macadamias instead of pine nuts? They are not easy to find where I live...


Yes, you can use more macadamia nuts instead of pine nuts 😊