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Homemade Red Pesto

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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 products again.

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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.

Tips & Substitutions

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 homemade 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.

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.

Hands-on Overall

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

Net carbs1.3 grams
Protein0.9 grams
Fat6.3 grams
Calories65 kcal

Calories from carbs 8%, protein 6%, fat 86%

Total carbs1.8 gramsFiber0.5 gramsSugars0.3 gramsSaturated fat1.1 gramsSodium65 mg(3% RDA)Magnesium10 mg(2% RDA)Potassium84 mg(4% EMR)

Ingredients (makes about 440 g/ 15.5 oz)

  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained (110 g/ 3.9 oz)
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts (60 g/ 2.1 oz)
  • 1/4 cup cashew nuts (30 g/ 1.1 oz)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese or other Italian hard cheese (30 g/ 1.1 oz)
  • 1/4 cup tomato purée (60 g/ 2.1 oz)
  • 1/2 lemon, juice and zest or to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (120 ml/ 4 fl oz)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  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.
    Homemade Red Pesto
  2. Grate the parmesan cheese and add to the mixture. Pulse again 3-4 times.
    Homemade Red Pesto
  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.
    Homemade Red Pesto

Ingredient nutritional breakdown (per serving, 1 tbsp/ 15 g/ 0.5 oz)

Net carbsProteinFatCalories
Sun-dried tomatoes (in oil, drained)
0.6 g0.2 g0.5 g8 kcal
Macadamia nuts
0.1 g0.2 g1.5 g14 kcal
Cashew nuts
0.3 g0.2 g0.4 g6 kcal
Parmesan cheese
0 g0.4 g0.3 g4 kcal
Tomato purée (unsweetened)
0.1 g0 g0 g1 kcal
Lemon (juice), fresh
0.1 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Lemon zest (peel), fresh
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Garlic, fresh
0.1 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Basil, fresh
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Olive oil, extra virgin
0 g0 g3.6 g32 kcal
Salt, sea salt
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Total per serving, 1 tbsp/ 15 g/ 0.5 oz
1.3 g0.9 g6.3 g65 kcal
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Martina Slajerova
Creator of KetoDietApp.com

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 (10)

This is by far the best pesto I've ever had. Fantastic recipe! Thanks! I couldn't get macadamia nuts for less than £50/kilo online (I'm in Sweden) so I doubled the cashews and used 1/4 cup almonds and it turned out excellent.

Reply

Thank you for the tips Vanessa!

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This is really lovely...I put some in a tenderised turkey steak with some haloumi, rolled it and then wrapped it in bacon and barbecued.  Divine!  Thank you so much for your amazing recipes!

Reply

Sounds delicious! Glad you liked it! 😊

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

Reply

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

Reply

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

Reply

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.

Reply

macadamia nuts... Thanks!

Reply

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

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