Friday, September 2, 2022

Creamy Basil Pesto - Vegan, Low-fat Version

Basil, Pesto, Green, Organic, Food

Got Lots of basil ? Enjoy a low fat basil pesto. 
Do you love the taste of fresh basil pesto? 
This is a tasty low-fat alternative that is a great substitute for those needing or wanting to reduce or restrict fat in their diet.

I love pesto, but truthfully I need to eat lower fat food. Whether you are overweight, have high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure, substituting healthier lower fat ingredients in traditionally high fat foods/recipes makes sense.   

Herbs, Basil, Food, Garden Herbs, Cook 

Scroll to bottom of post for the recipe

Weight Watchers Has A New Approach
I recently returned to Weight Watchers (after gaining 10 pounds). The new WW diet reflects healthier thinking and eating.

For example, there is a greater emphasis on eating whole unprocessed foods and an emphasis on finding ways to lower the fat and calorie content of healthy food by substituting ingredients.

I applied their theory to making pesto. 
Instead of using a large quantity of nuts, I substituted white beans to give the pesto a creamy texture. Instead of using cheese, I suggest nutritional yeast, which has a cheese-like flavor but without any fat. 

Pasta, Spaghetti, Pesto, Food, Italian

All Of The Basil Flavor, None Of The Fat
If it's the basil flavor you are after, this low-fat pesto recipe is still creamy and delicious. 

There is a saying, "you crave what you eat". If you season your food with a lot of salt, food will not taste good to you without a lot of salt. However, once you consciously start reducing the salt, you actually begin to enjoy the flavors of the food more, and don't miss the salt. The same goes with sugar and fat! 

Free photos of Garlic

Pesto Is Perfect On Pasta or Toast (GF)
I use this rich creamy basil pesto on pasta, on potatoes, on toast (GF), or as a dip with crudités. The flavor of fresh basil will be everything you are looking for in a pesto. Personally, I like to use a mix of baby spinach and basil, since sometimes basil can be very strong.

pesto over cooked potatoes

Pesto is fast and easy to make. I whip up the recipe in my NutriBullet in a few minutes. 

Which White Bean Do I use? 
Any white bean will work, but I've discovered cans of "butter beans" which I really love. 

What Are Butter Beans?
After using these beans a few times in a variety of ways, I happened to mention to my friend Laura  how much I liked them and asked if she ever used them. 
Cloud, Speaking, Speech Bubble, Talk
Her response surprised me. 
She said, "Yes, I love them- they are large lima beans

WHAT?? I don't like lima beans, I said
We decided they probably changed the name for just that reason. 

Freezes Well Too
A little pesto goes a long way. 
In fact, freezing it in ice cube trays (that you pop into zip lock bags once frozen) is a good way to be able to have pesto all fall and not waste any of what you make.

Not Traditional Pesto
For those who say, This is not traditional "pesto"-- I agree. However, it is the closest name I have for it. 

The Recipe

8 ounces of cooked white beans such as pinto or navy beans ( I used canned butter beans)
1 cup of fresh basil
1 cup of fresh baby spinach 
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 cup of nut milk 
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
Optional: 2 tablespoons for nutritional yeast for a cheese flavor or use vegan parmesan cheese. 

Add all ingredients, except the nutritional yeast. to a NutriBullet or strong blender or food processor.  When creamy stir in the nutritional yeast. Start with 1 tablespoon of yeast and taste. Then add more as desired. Serve over pasta, as a dip, or on toast.

My Notes: 


  1. I love homemade pesto...they are usually very fresh and so much more flavourful and healthier. Your version with butter beans and nutritional yeast sounds fabulous.

  2. I think I would leave the nut milk out. And have you tried substituting dulse for the salt? Any seaweed would do. I make a coriander pesto with dulse which I love. And that's interesting about butter beans which we eat a lot of.
    from Tandy I Lavender and Lime

  3. Sounds so good and simple. I'll give it a try. Happy Sept and be well. Nancy Andres @ Colors 4 Health

  4. The green of your pesto is so pretty! And what a clever way to make a traditional sauce healthier. Also, I too had heard of butter beans (mostly in books) but never knew what they were. I never guessed that they could be large lima beans. Thanks for solving that mystery! 💚

  5. It looks so delicious!! have a good alternative with the beans...I love pesto too!!.......Abrazotes, Marcela

  6. I've never had pesto on toast or potatoes, I may give it a try.

  7. Pesto on potatoes sounds amazing- a must try with your delicious lower fat version. We could eat pesto by the spoonful so being a little bit lower fat is a very good thing.


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