Roasted Walnut Basil Pesto

Why this recipe?   I wanted all the flavor of a fresh vibrant Basil Pesto but with reduced fat and calories!  I manged to achieve a moist pesto with half the fat that spreads beautifully!  Woo hoo!  It's healthy and Weight Watchers friendly.

The Flip:  (per tablespoon)

Original recipe:  Calories: 118   Fat: 13 g    Sodium: 143 mg
"Flipped" version:  Calories: 69    Fat:: 7 g    Sodium: 103 mg
  • Reduce amount of extra virgin olive oil by half—cutting approximately 600 calories and 70 grams of fat!
  • Cut sodium in half—reduced sodium by 590 mg
My thoughts:  The consistency of my Roasted Walnut Basil Pesto is thicker—however, it doesn't change the taste.  Roasting the walnuts enhanced the flavor of the walnuts in the pesto.

Italian pesto is incredible on so many foods!  Last evening, we had grilled chops and rice with pesto—Yum! Enjoy!

Servings: 15  Serving size: 1 tbsp  Calories: 69  Fat: 7 g  Carbs: 1 g  Fiber: 0 g  Protein: 2 g  Sugar: 0 g  Sodium: 103 mg    Old points:  2    WW points +:  2

  • 2 cups fresh Basil leaves, gently packed
  • 3 tbsp Walnuts, roasted and rough chopped  (Pine Nuts are fine—a few grams higher in fat)
  • 3 Garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 5 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil  (it's worth it—spend the extra money on a high quality olive oil!)
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  • 1/4 tsp Salt 
  1. Heat small skillet over medium heat until hot.  Add walnuts. Continuously stir until walnuts start to turn a light brown.  Remove walnuts from skillet to stop the roasting process.  Cool slightly and rough chop.
  2. Using a food processor or strong blender and with motor running; drop the walnuts and garlic through the top or feed tube.  Process until finely minced.  (May need to stop the motor and scrape down the sides)
  3. Add olive oil and pulse motor until combined with walnut mixture.
  4. Add half of basil leaves, Parmigiano-Reggiano and salt. Process. Scrape down sides.
  5. Add remaining half of basil, Parmigiano and salt. Process. Scrap down sides and fold mixture from the bottom to the top.  
  6. Continue processing, scraping and folding until mixture is finely minced (be patient, you don't have the extra olive oil!)  Last one week in refrigerator.




  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Tyler! The flavors are wonderful. It's great in an omelette, panini, pasta, rice, meats and veggies—just about everything!


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