Totally tasty, definitely good for you: this 5-minute Avocado Pesto Sauce is something you need to make. Soon. Maybe even right this very minute?
If you’ve got the following six basic ingredients in your kitchen you could be enjoying a heavenly bowl of avocado pesto pasta for dinner in less time than it takes to make just about any other dinner I can think of. Here’s the only six things you will need:
- Pine Nuts
- Unrefined Sea Salt
And no, it did not just slip my mind to not include the olive oil or Parmesan cheese. I intentionally left those ingredients out and made my avocado pesto recipe without oil or cheese on purpose. Although a classic pesto recipe typically contains approximately 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan, you actually don’t need a drop of oil or any cheese at all to make a decadent pesto. You can still get the delicious rich taste and luxurious full-fat mouth-feel of a classic pesto by using “whole fats” in the form of avocado and pine nuts.
Avocado Pesto is Made from Plant-Based “Whole Fats”
If you read our Clean Cuisine book (see cover left) you already know we do not advocate a “low-fat” diet, but we do recommend a low-oil diet. And there’s a BIG difference!
If you swap “whole” plant-based fats such as nuts, seeds, olives, coconuts and avocados for excess oil you’d be getting a lot more fiber, phytonutrients, disease-preventing plant sterols, and other nutrients that would be much more useful at protecting your heart and your overall health compared to consuming oils alone. (1) What this means is that “whole” olives are healthier than olive oil, “whole” flaxseeds are healthier than flax oil, and the “whole” avocado and “whole” raw pine nuts used in the avocado pesto recipe are a more nutritious choice than any oil could ever be. This doesn’t mean you need to ban every last drop of oil from your kitchen, it’s just good to be aware that the “whole” food is always going to be more nutritious and provide more health benefits than the oil. You can read more about the benefits of getting more of your dietary fat from plant-based “whole fats” HERE.
What about losing the cheese in the avocado pesto? Is that maybe taking things to extremes? No. And it’s not because I don’t eat cheese either, it’s just that when you lose the oil, the cheese just doesn’t work. The pine nuts step up to the plate and take the place of shredded Parmesan. Perfectly, I might add. For the cheese record–and for those of you who care—although I no longer drink milk, I do still eat a wee bit of cheese. However, I do not eat cheese because I think cheese is a health food; I only eat cheese because I seriously love great, real and full-fat cheese and I do so many countless other things healthy that I don’t think a wee bit of cheese is the end of the world. You can read more about our Clean Cuisine stance on dairy, milk and cheese HERE.
How to Use Avocado Pesto
Like guacamole, avocado pesto is best made fresh and eaten shortly after it has been prepared. Also, keep in mind, avocado pesto is a raw food recipe that tastes best when not cooked. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t put your pesto on cooked, warm food. Avocado pesto is amazing tossed with cooked warm spaghetti squash, smothered on roasted vegetables, served as a dip, slathered on grilled fish or tofu, etc.
I do think my all-time favorite way to eat avocado pesto though is mixed in a big bowl of whole grain pasta with petite peas (see photo above). It’s beyond delicious and so very satisfying. You should definitely make yourself a bowl….Print
- Flesh from 1 whole avocado
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- 3 tablespoons raw pine nuts
- Unrefined sea salt (to taste)
- ¼ cup water
- Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix) and process until smooth and creamy. Serve at once.
- R. Segura, C. Javierre, M. A. Lizarraga, and E. Ros, “Other Relevant Components of Nuts: Phytosterols, Folate and Minerals,” British Journal of Nutrition 96, suppl. 2 (2006): D36–44.