Easy Nut-Free Leafy Green Pesto

Leafy greens pesto
Dana Angelo White
Total Time: 15 min
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 0 min
Servings: 24 (1 tablespoon each)

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

81 calories
9g fat
0g carbs
0g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24 (1 tablespoon each)
Amount per serving  
Calories 81
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 99mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 0g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 7mg 1%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 23mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

A combination of bright green vegetables and herbs come together to create an inflammation fighting and nutrient rich powerhouse sauce. Not only do leafy green vegetables like spinach, arugula, and fresh herbs contain vitamins and minerals, they're packed with plant-based compounds that protect cells from damage and inflammation. Make a batch of this vibrant and versatile sauce for pasta, sauces, or grilled meat and vegetables.


  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh arugula
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Place garlic clove in a food processor and pulse to chop.

  2. Place arugula, spinach, parsley, and basil to the food processor, followed by lemon juice and zest.

  3. Add salt and black pepper and pulse again.

  4. With the machine running, slowly pour in olive oil.

  5. Continue to blend until all the oil is incorporated and ingredients are well combined.

  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.

  7. Transfer the pesto to a bowl; use immediately or store as desired.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

Other leafy green options for this recipe include Swiss chard, escarole, and dandelion greens.

This recipe omits traditional higher calorie ingredients such as Parmesan cheese and pine nuts, but they can be added to the sauce before serving. Sprinkle a bit on top for a twist on texture, but note that these add-ins, particularly pine nuts, are higher in calories. One ounce adds about 190 calories, so stick to a smaller portion—about 10 nuts per serving—to keep the added energy density to about 11 calories.

Cooking and Serving Tips

Make a batch of pesto and savor for weeks. Once prepared, pesto can sit out at room temperature for up to two hours. To store, pack in an airtight container or bag and keep in the refrigerator. The sauce also freezes beautifully in freezer safe bags or ice cube trays. To defrost, just toss portions of frozen pesto into soups, sauces, and marinades.

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