Healthy Thai Basil Pesto Sauce

This Healthy Thai Basil Pesto is the perfect pasta sauce. It’s homemade, fresh, and absolutely delectable. For a quick and tasty meal, stir it into your pasta, drizzle it on your salad, or spread it on a pizza or sandwich. It’s also soy-free and gluten-free, making it ideal for those with dietary restrictions.

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Healthy thai basil pesto sauce

Pesto has a fascinating history and is thought to have originated in the northwest Italian region of Liguria. It may have come from a garlic-based sauce called aggiadda from the 13th century or from the Middle Ages, when it was common to use fragrant herbs. Giovanni Battista Ratto wrote the first written recipe for pesto in the 1800s. It was in his book The Genoese Cuisine. This recipe included garlic, basil, and cheese. Even though our vegan version doesn’t have any cheese, it’s still full of basil and tastes great.

What is the difference between Thai basil and regular basil

Thai basil and regular basil are two different varieties of basil. Their appearance is the most noticeable distinction between the two. Regular basil has a green stem and rounder leaves, whereas Thai basil has a purple stem and pointed, narrow leaves. Thai basil has a slightly spicy, licorice-like flavor that contrasts with the sweet, peppery flavor of regular basil.

Thai basil is a common ingredient in many southeast Asian dishes, such as curries, stir-fries, and noodle soups, whereas regular basil is popular in Italian cuisine, particularly in tomato-based dishes and pesto.

While both varieties are members of the basil family and share some similarities, they differ in appearance and flavor and are frequently used in different types of cuisine.

What is basil good for

Basil is an herb that not only tastes great but also has a number of uses that could be beneficial to your health. The following is a list of some of basil’s health benefits:

  1. Anti-inflammatory: Basil contains essential oils that have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce inflammation in the body and prevent chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
  2. Antioxidant: Basil is an excellent source of antioxidants such as flavonoids, which are compounds that help prevent cell damage and free radical damage within the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to aging and chronic diseases.
  3. Antibacterial and antiviral: Basil contains compounds including essential oils such as eugenol, linalool, and citral that have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Eugenol, in particular, has been found to have potent antibacterial properties and has been shown to be effective against drug-resistant strains of bacteria.
  4. Digestive health: Basil has a long history of use in traditional medicine, specifically for the treatment of digestive complaints such as bloating and constipation. It may also help soothe an upset stomach.
  5. Stress relief: Eugenol, which is found in basil may help reduce stress and anxiety. In addition to eugenol, basil also contains compounds such as linalool and citronellol, which are known for their soothing properties. These compounds are commonly found in aromatherapy and are believed to have a relaxing effect on the body and mind.

Overall, basil is a nutrient-dense herb that can be a healthy addition to a balanced diet.

Is pesto healthy

Pesto is a popular sauce, and many people wonder if it’s healthy. However, this is a difficult question to answer because the answer is dependent on your dietary requirements, nutritional status, and the ingredients used to make the pesto.

Pesto is generally healthy because it contains fresh basil, garlic, lemon, and nuts. Many people season their pesto with Parmesan cheese and olive oil. These ingredients are generally healthy when consumed in moderation, but they are calorie-dense foods that can add extra calories to your pesto.

Pesto has specific health benefits due to the ingredients used to make it, whether you plan on making traditional pesto with cheese or this healthy pesto sauce without cheese:

  • Basil: Basil is high in antioxidants and is known to be anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. It can help with stress relief and digestion. To learn more about the health benefits of basil, read the section “What is basil good for?” in this recipe.
  • Garlic: Garlic has natural antibiotic properties and has been shown to aid in the treatment of infections caused by bacteria and viruses. Garlic aids in the reduction of blood pressure and cholesterol levels, both of which are risk factors for heart disease. Garlic may improve bone health in women by increasing estrogen levels, which can aid in bone loss prevention.
  • Lemons: Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is necessary for a healthy immune system. One lemon contains about 30–40% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Citric acid, which is found in lemons, can help stimulate the production of digestive juices in the stomach. This can help with digestion and keep you from getting constipation.
  • Nutritional yeast: Nutritional yeast contains protein, fiber, and several B vitamins, including vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is required for proper nerve function and red blood cell production. Nutritional yeast also contains beta-glucans, which are polysaccharides that have been shown to stimulate white blood cells and thus boost the immune system

Ingredients

This healthy Thai basil pesto sauce only needs the following six ingredients: Thai basil, olive oil, walnuts, garlic, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice.

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How to make healthy Thai basil pesto sauce

Making this healthy Thai basil pesto sauce is super simple! Here are the steps:

  • Start by adding basil, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast to a food processor or a small blender. Blend on high speed until a paste forms. 
  • Slowly add olive oil, a little at a time, and pulse; scrape down the sides as needed. Continue to add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the sauce reaches your desired consistency. The sauce should be thick but pourable.
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Add all ingredients and blend in a food processor.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust the flavors as needed. You can add more nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor, salt for overall taste, nuts for nuttiness, garlic for a bit of a bite, or lemon juice for acidity.  Enjoy this pesto with your favorite bread, pasta or roasted vegetables!

How to store this sauce

Place the leftover sauce in an airtight container and keep in in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can freeze this sauce for upto 1 month. Just thaw and give it a good stir before using.

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Healthy Thai basil pesto sauce in a bowl.
healthy thai basil pesto sauce - recipe card

Healthy Thai Basil Pesto Sauce

8f7236c9626d7dcca9cca39f75b7f03fArchana Singh, PhD
This Healthy Thai Basil Pesto is the perfect pasta sauce. It's homemade, fresh, and absolutely delectable. For a quick and tasty meal, stir it into your pasta, drizzle it on your salad, or spread it on a pizza or sandwich.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Course condiments
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 16
Calories 42 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups basil leaves choose Thai basil, large stems removed
  • 1/4 cup walnuts toasted
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3-6 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp salt optional

Instructions
 

  • Start by adding basil, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast to a food processor or a small blender. Blend on high until a paste forms.
  • Slowly add olive oil, a little at a time, and pulse; scrape down the sides as needed. Continue to add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the sauce reaches your desired consistency. The sauce should be thick but pourable.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust the flavors as needed. You can add more nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor, salt for overall taste, nuts for nuttiness, garlic for a bit of a bite, or lemon juice for acidity. Enjoy with your favorite bread, pasta or roasted vegetables!

Nutrition

Serving: 1tbspCalories: 42kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 0.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 37mgPotassium: 49mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.1gPhosphorus: 9mg
Keyword Kidney Friendly, Thai basil pesto
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

What is a healthy alternative to pine nuts?

If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to pine nuts, there are several options available:

Walnuts: Walnuts are a great alternative to pine nuts as they are rich in protein, healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants. They also have a similar texture to pine nuts.

Almonds: Almonds are another healthy alternative to pine nuts as they are high in protein, healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants. They have a slightly different texture than pine nuts, but they can be used in many of the same ways.

Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are a nutritious alternative to pine nuts as they are high in protein, healthy fats, fiber, and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and potassium. They have a slightly different flavor than pine nuts, but they can be roasted and used in pesto or other recipes.

Sunflower seeds: Sunflower seeds are a good alternative to pine nuts as they are high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber. They have a slightly different flavor than pine nuts, but they can be roasted and used in salads, baked goods, or as a garnish.

Overall, all of these options provide a healthy and tasty alternative to pine nuts and can be used in a variety of recipes.

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Archana Singh, PhD

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