MACRO FRIENDLY Basil Pesto Recipe



Pesto made with fresh basil and salty cheese is quite possibly one of my favorite comfort foods. When it’s served over pasta or on a pizza there’s really nothing better. I always like to keep a fresh basil plant in the house so that I have it to make pesto, fresh sauce or pizza.

A lot of people underestimate just how caloric pesto is. I mean, it’s just leaves…right?


Traditional pesto is packed with oil, nuts and cheese which in turn, equals (pardon my french)… a shit ton of calories and fat.

To give you an idea of just how caloric pesto can be, I’ve compiled a few of the most popular pesto brands for comparison.

Take a look!

calories in pesto

calories in pesto

That’s right…most pesto brands have between 200-300 calories per 1/4 cup serving.

By just eliminating most of the olive oil and getting rid of the pine nuts that you don’t even really taste anyway, I’ve been able to reduce by pesto to just 65 calories for an equivalent serving.

And because money talks and you know what walks…. that’s like getting a Chanel bag for 80% off!

If you’re appalled by the fact that I’ve cut out alot of olive oil because you just NEED it for it’s heart health benefits…. you might want to read my post about olive oil and salad dressing.

Olive oil is good, I’m not attacking olive oil. BUT, olive oil is also extremely caloric and with 120 calories per TABLESPOON, it gets the boot in this recipe (well, a little can stay).

And honestly, you don’t even miss it! I actually prefer this recipe to traditional pesto recipes because my lips don’t feel like an oil slick after I eat it!

I like to serve this over zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, pasta & it’s impastas (ie. bean based pastas, which I love!), grilled chicken, roasted eggplant with some melted mozzarella or even spread on a sandwich or wrap for some extra flavor.

Honestly, just use it anywhere!

This recipe is so simple to make and freezes well (try putting it in ice cube trays for built in portion control) so you can make extra and defrost it as you like!

Skinny Basil Pesto

Serves: 5


  • 2.5 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves

  • 4 Cloves Garlic,

  • 1 Lemon, Juiced

  • 1 tsp Olive Oil

  • 1/4 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth

  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender.

  2. Blend/pulse/process until pesto is smooth and well combined!


  • You can use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth if you prefer

  • If you’d like, you can add pine nuts but be sure to adjust the nutrition facts accordingly!

  • If you have leftover pesto, you can store it in an ice cube tray so that you have it for future meals!