Basil Pesto Sauce Recipe

If you love pesto, this traditional basil pesto sauce should definitely be on your to-make list!

I’m writing about this clean eating traditional pesto sauce recipe from an Amtrak train on my way to Old Sacramento for the weekend. The scenery is ever-changing and switches from wide open fields to old shanties, farmhouses, and small towns that give the impression that only 5 people live there.

A small, clear jar of this Clean Eating Traditional Pesto Sauce sits on a light wood surface surrounded by dry, spiral pasta noodles and fresh basil leaves.

I love the open green fields and all the clouds, even in their currently gray state, promising to rain down on us at any second. The speckled cows and white sheep are grazing, and the trees are few and far between. Occasionally, we pass a set of new houses that look odd in the middle of all this farmland. Almost like a polished, sparkly celebrity trying to fit in at the local dairy. Oddly out of place but still part of the landscape. The old church buildings make me want to plan a small country wedding, and the large warehouses remind me that industry is never far away from peaceful landscapes and a slower pace of life.

And with all of that scenery blowing by at close to the speed of the winds fighting against the train, all I can think about is the dinner I’m making tonight and how I really can’t wait to get home. Even Mini Chef said this clean eating traditional pesto sauce recipe is one of my best.

So, with that in mind, here is my recipe. And remember, a little goes a long way. Keep that in mind when adding this to any dish. The homemade stuff always flavors foods far more than the store-bought stuff. At least, that’s been my experience. And proceed with caution because this stuff can become addictive very, very quickly.


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Clean Eating Traditional Pesto Sauce Recipe

Basil Pesto Recipe

This classic basil pesto sauce is fill with amazing flavor and is totally easy to make.
4.67 from 3 votes
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Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 36 servings (2 1/4 cups approximately)
Calories: 50kcal


  • 1 cup fresh basil (packed)
  • 7 medium cloves garlic
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup roasted pine nuts
  • salt to taste


  • Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until you have a nice, smooth pesto sauce.


Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 1tbsp. | Calories: 50kcal | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 44mg | Potassium: 15mg | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 0.2mg

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  1. Superfood Sisters says:

    Looks yummy!! And so simple! Perfect combination! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. graciouspantry says:

      SS – Thanks! Hope you enjoy it!

  2. graciouspantry says:

    Abes1luv – Almond, cashews or walnuts work great as well. But you really can’t taste the pine nuts in this. Promise.

  3. graciouspantry says:

    J9 – You’re welcome!

  4. graciouspantry says:

    Chellie – Yes! Pesto always freezes well. Thanks for the reminder! Unfortunately, there was none left over to freeze! Haha!

  5. graciouspantry says:

    Taylor – It would make a fabulous sauce for pizza! I wouldn’t keep this any longer than a week in the fridge, but it freezes really well. Freeze in ice cube trays if you have a lot left over. makes it easy to portion out as needed.

  6. graciouspantry says:

    Melody – I don’t know that I would enjoy the flavor very much. But perhaps other herbs would be good? Not sure. I’ll have to experiment.

  7. Pingback: Clean Eating Recipes | Clean Eating Spaghetti Squash Pesto Spaghetti With Garlic Parmesan Turkey Meatballs
  8. graciouspantry says:

    Meg – Pesto is pretty versatile. While I would stay away from the peanuts due to the strong flavor they impart, you could certainly use almonds. Though you may get a better texture if you use almond butter.

  9. graciouspantry says:

    Chelsea – You could try blending some cottage cheese until smooth and then adding it to that. But if you warm it, warm it slowly or it will separate and look like curdled milk.

  10. i made it last night and it is a very easy receipe, though i would only put 2 to 3 cloves of garlic. i have it for lunch today on some gluten free pasta with lemon and some sundried tomatoes in! yummm

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Emilie – That does sound good! Enjoy! 😀

  11. What is the shelf life on this pesto?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Brandy – In the fridge, probably a two weeks. You’ll smell the difference when it starts to change.

  12. Amy Duaso says:

    Hi! Love your site! Are the pine nuts necessary for the flavor to be good? My daughters have a peanut allergy so I stay away from all nuts

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Amy – The pine nuts are for both flavor and texture. But you can certainly try it without.

  13. OK great! Is there something I could substitute for the pine nuts?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Amy – Walnuts or cashews work pretty well.

  14. Hi i have a basil plant that is doing very well. Im new to pesto. It sounds delicious though. Please give me some ideas about how and what to serve pesto with

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tracy – The best thing you can do is freeze it in ice cube trays. This gives you individual portions you can easily grab out of the freezer for cooking when you need it.

  15. 5 stars
    I absolutely love this pesto recipe but I wonder how you get 2 1/4 cups of pesto out of it. Maybe I’m measuring wrong but it usually only makes 1c of pesto for me. If your not a garlic lover I’d suggest reducing the garlic in this.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Carol – It could just be differences in how we are measuring. My yield is pretty consistent every time I make it. Glad you like it though!!

  16. My husband and I love the ratios in this recipe. we love garlic and add even MORE to it – but we are crazy garlic people!

    1. Jennifer – That’s awesome! I’m a garlic lover too! I just have to plan my meal accordingly so I don’t have to talk to anybody the next day. LOL!