Four steps to a great pesto: 1. Use intensely flavored ingredients like fresh herbs, roasted nuts, and real parmesan cheese. 2. Never cook it. 3. Thin it with a bit of hot water (or pasta cooking water), if needed. 4. Don't combine it with the pasta until you're ready to eat.

But this Almost Classic Basil Pesto isn't just for pasta. Also try it on chicken or fish, mix it with whole grains, or use it to season salad dressings or jazz up vegetables.

This recipe was developed by Kate Sherwood, The Healthy Cook. Have a comment, question, or idea? Email Kate at

Makes: 1½ cups 


  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts 
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese 
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • 4 cups basil leaves
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves 
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt 
  • freshly ground black pepper 


  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until uniformly minced and blended together. 

Nutrition Information

Per serving (¼ cup):

  • Calories: 170
  • Total fat: 16 g
  • Sat fat: 3 g
  • Sodium: 190 mg
  • Carbs: 4 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 3 g