Basil Pesto with Lemon (and Ten Ideas for Using Basil Pesto)
Basil Pesto with Lemon is something I’ve been making for years, and I think making pesto is one of the signs of summer! And this perfect summer sauce made with fresh basil is low-carb, Keto, low-glycemic, gluten-free, and South Beach Diet friendly. Use Fresh Herbs to find more recipes like this one.
I remember the first time I tasted basil pesto, which was simply called pesto back in those days before this type of uncooked Italian sauce started being made from many different herbs or vegetables like it is today. My first basil pesto was made by a guy named Steve, who not only was a fantastic cook, but who had a food processor! This was years before I thought of purchasing such an exotic cooking tool, but now I can’t imagine living without it.
Since then, I’ve made many types of pesto, and I make basil pesto every year when the garden is bursting with midsummer basil. For a few years now I’ve been making this Basil Pesto with Lemon, and I don’t think I’d ever make it again without the lemon, which brightens up the flavor and keeps the pesto bright green much longer in the fridge. Pesto never stays around in the fridge that long around here, but if you need some ideas for using it, look after the recipe for suggestions.
Steps for Making Basil Pesto with Lemon:
- If you’re using basil from the garden, start by rinsing it and drying well. I use a salad spinner, but you can also rinse it in the sink and dry with paper towels.
- The 2 cups of basil used in this recipe means a 2 cup measuring cup packed with as much basil as you can fit into it.
- Put the basil and 3-4 cloves of garlic into the food processor and process with steel blade until basil and garlic are chopped, adding 1/2 cup olive oil through the feed tube.
- Add 1/2 cup pine nuts, 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice and process until well blended, about 1-2 minutes more.
- Season the pesto to taste with a bit of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper.
- I store pesto in a glass jar in the refrigerator, where it will last for more than a week, but it can also be frozen.
Ten Recipe Ideas for Using Basil Pesto:
1) Make Grilled Zucchini, then top it with a few tablespoons of basil pesto.
2) Use basil pesto in Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash with Pesto and Parmesan.
3) Try Asparagus with Basil Pesto.
4) Make Georgette’s Really Lemony Greek Pilafi, then mix in a little basil pesto.
5) Use the pesto to replace basil puree in Basil Vinaigrette, then drizzle over fresh tomatoes.
6) Make Foil Baked Salmon with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes.
7) Use some of the basil pesto for Baked White Fish with Pine Nut, Parmesan, and Basil Pesto Crust.
8) Use rotisserie chicken to make Leftover Chicken Pesto Salad.
9) Toss pesto and Parmesan with Roasted Summer Squash.
10) And of course you can always eat your Basil Pesto with delicious Whole Wheat Spaghetti!
Basil Pesto with Lemon
Basil Pesto with Lemon is the perfect summer sauce.
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed into measuring cup)
- 3-4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (choose a a flavorful olive oil for pesto)
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 3/4 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to tast
- Wash basil leaves if needed and spin dry or dry with paper towels.
- Put basil leaves and sliced garlic into food processor that’s been fitted with the steel blade and process until basil and garlic is finely chopped, adding oil through the feed tube as you process. (You may need to take off the lid and scrape the sides with a rubber scraper if you have a hard time getting the basil all chopped.)
- Add pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and lemon juice to the chopped basil mixture and process 1-2 minutes more, until the pesto is mostly pureed and well mixed. (I like to keep it slightly chunky, but you can make it as finely pureed as you wish.)
- Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and pulse a few times more.
- Store basil pesto in the refrigerator in a glass jar, where it will keep for more than a week.
- Pesto can also be frozen.
- Many cooking experts recommend leaving out the cheese if you’re going to freeze it, and then adding the cheese when you thaw the pesto. (I’ve done it both ways and haven’t noticed that much difference.)
You will need a food processor to make this. There are many brands, but I love my Cuisinart Food Processor. (affiliate link)
This recipe inspired by many basil pesto recipes through the years, with the idea of adding lemon juice something Kalyn has been committed to the last few years.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Basil Pesto with Lemon is high in fat, but pesto is generally used in fairly small amounts, which would make this suitable for any phase of the South Beach Diet, and of course it’s suitable for low-glycemic and low-carb diet plans.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
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