Health Healthy Recipes

Nutrient-Packed Pesto Can Provide a Solid Superfood Boost

Looking for a way to eat more nutritious foods? You may want to turn to superfoods — foods and drinks that contain high amounts of health-boosting vitamins and minerals.

Pesto is a great way to cram multiple superfoods into a single meal. Read on to learn how you can use this versatile sauce to power up your health.

Pesto’s Health Benefits

The ingredients in pesto contain an array of nutrients that are good for your mind and body. For example:

A Simple Pesto Recipe

Pesto is incredibly easy to make — especially if you have a food processor, blender, or personal blender such as a Magic Bullet or Ninja. If you want to go the old-school route, you can even use a traditional mortar and pestle!

Follow these simple steps to get about 1 cup of your own homemade pesto:

  • Add 2 cups fresh basil leaves, ¼ cup pine nuts, 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, dashes of salt and pepper, and a splash of lemon juice to your food processor or blender.
  • Pulse until everything is coarsely chopped.
  • Drizzle in 2/3 cup olive oil while your food processor or blender is running.
  • Add ½ cup parmesan cheese and pulse again until everything looks fully combined.

You can also modify this basic recipe to better suit your palette. For example, play with the recipe by adding in additional herbs such as parsley, cilantro, or mint, or substitute some of the basil for other superfood leafy greens like spinach or kale.  Alternatively, swap out pine nuts for almonds, walnuts, or your favorite nut — or something completely different, like sunflower seeds. Add in some crushed red pepper or chopped jalapeno if you prefer a bit of heat. For vegan pesto, use nutritional yeast instead of cheese.

Fresh basil may turn dark brown after it’s chopped. It won’t hurt to eat darkened pesto, but it may look a little nicer if you keep it protected from the air. As soon as you’ve grabbed the pesto you want for your current meal, store the rest by pushing plastic wrap down into your container so that the plastic wrap is directly in contact with the pesto. Then, throw the container in the fridge.

You can also make a big batch of pesto to use later. Simply freeze your pesto in ice cube trays. Once the cubes are frozen through, place them into freezer bags. Take out and defrost your pesto as needed.

Nutrient-Packed Pesto Infographic
Nutrient-Packed Pesto

How To Use Pesto

Whether you make your own pesto or buy ready-made pesto from your local grocery store, there are a ton of ways to add this superfood ingredient to your meals.

For your next meal, you may want to try one of the following:

Getting Your Superfood Boost

While pesto is great any time of the year, its quick prep time and ability to be easily incorporated into quick meals make it the perfect solution for easy, fresh eating during the summertime months when you may not feel like cooking. Try it a different way each time to you make it to keep things interesting!

By Mo McNulty

Maureen McNulty studied molecular genetics and English at Ohio State University. She has spent over a decade researching the genetic causes of — and possible treatments for — multiple types of cancer. Maureen is now a medical writer who is passionate about helping people use science to enrich their lives.