Make Healthy Pesto Three Ways with this Basic Recipe Formula

Use this formula to make heart-healthy pestos. Each is packed with healthy fats but keeps sodium in check — no more than 115 milligrams per 2-tablespoon serving.

pesto flavors tout

Pesto Base Formula

You'll need:

1 cup star ingredient (sun-dried tomatoes, kale, or roasted peppers)

+ ½ cup nuts

+ 1.5 to 2 oz. shredded or crumbled cheese

+ ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil

+ 4 cloves garlic, sliced

+ 2 to 4 tablespoons water


Put star ingredient, nuts, cheese, oil, and garlic in a food processor. Cover and process until nearly smooth. Thin to desired consistency with water. Season to taste with salt. Serve over foods such as chicken breasts, salmon, whole-wheat pasta, or roasted potatoes.

pesto on salmon

Red & Ready Pesto

Makes 1¼ cups

Sun-dried tomatoes

Toasted pine nuts

2 oz. shredded goat gouda cheese

sundried tomato pesto

Groovy Green Pesto

Makes 1 cup

Packed fresh kale

Roasted pistachios

1.5 oz. crumbled blue cheese

pistachio pesto

Sunny Spain Pesto

Makes 1 2/3 cups

Sliced Roasted Yellow/Orange bell peppers

Toasted almonds

2 oz. shredded manchego cheese

yellow pepper pesto

Salt to Taste

We found some versions didn't need any extra salt. Add salt to your preference, but use less than ¼ teaspoon to keep sodium in line.


This article originally appeared in the February/March 2020 issue of Allrecipes Magazine.

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