Lemon and Basil Pesto

Last night was one of those nights where I didn’t feel like cooking an elaborate meal. Didn’t help that our fridge is mostly empty as we hadn’t been to the grocery store for regular shopping in over a week. Sigh.

What we did have was a container or two of basil and some lemon juice {Don’t hate. It was organic. Just not a real lemon. They go bad waaaay too fast in our house.} Both just waiting for an excuse to be used.

And then it hit me: why not make a pesto with the lemon. I mean, it couldn’t be that bad. In fact, it could be good. Really good. At least, that’s what the kids online had to say.

I have to say, it turned out pretty darn well. Even the hubster liked it, and he’s not a huge fan of citrus in his dinner. Even went back for seconds. (That’s always a good sign in our house.)

Lemon and Basil Pesto

5 minPrep Time

5 minCook Time

10 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste


  1. Dry roast pine nuts in small skillet until lightly browned.
  2. Place all ingredients in blender and process until smooth.
  3. Serve on top of your favorite pasta!

Allergen Information

Nigthshade free, dairy free, gluten free, wheat free, corn free, soy free, and egg free.


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More about Emily Levenson

Emily Levenson is a meditation encourager, mama, and Pittsburgh enthusiast. She recently launched a podcast called Nourish + Flourish and is a co-pilot at Propelle.


  1. Reply You can also add some grated hard cheese (Italian pecorino, Spanish queso de oveja/ sheep's milk cheese) if you eat dairy products. It enhances the flavour. Pine nuts can be changed by other oily seeds like sunflower seeds, pumkin seeds, almonds, peanuts, cajus/anacardi nuts, regular nuts, etc. Like many other Mediterranean dishes (paella, risotto, etc.) pesto sauce was a kind of staple food for poor land-workers, shepherds and sailors. That was survival food extracted from the wild enviroment: pine nuts (from Mediterranean pines), herbs (basil), lemons, olive oil and hard cheese (Mediterranean staple foods every poor family could afford or produced themselves). This is the wisdom of the traditional Mediterranean cultures. Traditional Anglosaxon cultures have staple foods too, which probably are more suitable for UK or cold North-America climate: chowders, porridge/oatmeal, turnips dishes, and so on. Regards, Manuel
    1. Reply Thanks for the info about the history of pesto! As for the cheese, probably not a good idea considering I have an intolerance to all dairy.
  2. Reply You know, I have never thought of adding lemon to pesto but it makes sense. I am going to have to try that. Thanks for the inspiration!
  3. Reply I am also a vegetarian and my body has never been in a very good shape. Being a vegan can really make you much heathier.~',

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