The Delicious and Healthy Pesto Recipe You Need to Try

Pesto is a slightly sweet type of spread that has been traditionally used in Italian cuisine for centuries. As a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, pesto contains some of the most valued ingredients in Mediterranean kitchens, including olive oil and basil. Many Americans recognize pesto from using it in pasta recipes, antipasto, sauces, and even on garlic bread, but there are many more ways to use this ultra-healthy, and delicious dip! 

You may not realize it, but the reason Dr. Gundry puts pesto into so many of his Plant-Paradox Approved Recipes is because of the ingredients. You see, while the Dr. Gundry pesto recipe is super simple, the ingredients are some of the healthiest on the planet! Here is a brief introduction to Dr. Gundry’s recipe for basil pesto. 

Dr. Gundry’s Delicious Pesto Recipe Ingredients 

The 3 ingredients for Dr. Gundry’s famous pesto recipe are simple, but they can all be considered superfoods. 

  1. Extra Virgin Olive OilUsed in all types of cooking including pan-frying, sautéing, or even baking, extra virgin olive oil (evoo) is one of the most popular oils in every kitchen. Well-known to provide monounsaturated fats for a healthy brain, skin, and more, olive oil is also a good source of health-promoting antioxidants, along with a range of essential vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins E and K, iron, sodium, calcium, and potassium.1,2 

One of the most notable antioxidant compounds found in olive oil, known as oleocanthal has recently been shown to help reduce inflammatory activity, even for those suffering with autoimmune problems.3

For other ways to reduce inflammation with supplements like Lectin Shield, read here.

When it comes to oils, extra virgin olive oil is one of the most heart-healthy oils you can find!4 So, keep it at the top of your shopping list as it is a significant source of a unique essential fatty acid known as oleic acid – also known as omega-9 fatty acid. 

  1. BasilThe slightly sweet, and ultra-refreshing fragrance of basil is sure to freshen the air. But when you toss it into any of your favorite recipes it also brings all flavors to life! Basil is credited with being one of the healthiest common garden herbs on the planet. Traditionally used in Italian cuisine, its flavor is just a hint of what basil can do. 

Here is just a sneak peek inside basil’s abilities: 

  • Anti-Microbial. Combat a range of potential pathogens (germs) with the potent antimicrobial power of basil. Studies have shown that basil is able to kill off a variety of viruses, bacteria, yeasts, and mold.5 
  • Antioxidant. There are many things in our everyday environment that can create compounds known as ROS (reactive oxygen species) that can damage healthy cells of your body. These include air pollutants, toxins in the food supply, and even UV rays from the sun.6  

ROS damage to healthy cells can happen at any place on or inside your body. However, basil contains unique, protective antioxidant compounds known as polyphenols, able to slow cellular damage from ROS species and the oxidation process they can trigger.7 In slowing down this damaging process caused by ROS, basil may help to boost cellular defense and promote better overall health.8 

  • Anti-Inflammatory. Inflammation is a natural response of your immune system. However, if left alone, inflammation can contribute to all types of health concerns. Inside every basil leaf and stem there are powerful anti-inflammatory compounds known as anthocyanins to help reduce the inflammatory response throughout the body.9 
  • Cardiovascular Health. Basil contains large amounts of an important mineral for muscle contraction and overall function. For this reason, it is known to offer benefits to the cardiovascular system including the proper function of the heart muscle itself.10 One study confirmed that magnesium also aids in regulating blood pressure and heart contractions.11 
  • Mood Booster. While there are many different varieties of basil, some types have been associated with a happy mood. One study revealed that a strain known as tulsi (also known as Holy Basil) is a type of adaptogen, meaning that it is known to effectively reduce physical and mental stress for a lasting good mood throughout the day!12
  • Freshening. Thousands of years ago, people would just pinch off a basil leaf and chew it if they had bad breath. Today, adding a teaspoon of Dr. Gundry’s Pesto into a recipe can also refresh your mouth. Studies have confirmed the disinfecting and freshening power of basil as well as its ability to kill more than 99% of bad-breath germs.13 
  • Pine Nuts. No pesto would pack the same punch without a dose of heart-healthy nuts!14 And while most nuts contain the type of essential fatty acids known to reduce inflammation and support overall health, pine nuts are one nut that have recently been shown to offer some of the most powerful anti-inflammatory effects out there!15 

Their rich, nutty flavor adds the satisfying crunch you crave to any style of Dr. Gundry’s Delicious Basil Pesto. However, if you do not like pine nuts, you may choose to substitute them in the recipe for almonds, walnuts, another nut, or just leave them out for a smoother and more spreadable texture.

How-To Make Dr. Gundry’s Delicious Pesto 

Not all pesto recipes are created equal. In fact, some can contain low-quality olive oil or even inferior nuts. Recent studies have confirmed that pine nuts are one of the best types of nuts for fighting inflammation, so follow this exact recipe to get the most out of the simple superfood ingredients of Dr. Gundry’s pesto!16 

Ingredients for Dr. Gundry’s Basil Pesto: 

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves 
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan 
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • ⅓ cup toasted pine nuts 
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled 
  • Sea salt, sprinkled to taste 

Directions: 

  • In order to make Dr. Gundry’s basil pesto, tear the basil leaves apart and then rinse them with water. Toss them into the blender along with the rest of the ingredients: parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, and a drizzle of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil). Pulse the blender until the ingredients are mixed. If needed, you can add more EVOO to make the blending process easier. This will also provide a smoother and easier to spread pesto.  
  • Drizzle more EVOO into the blender and continue to pulse. Then, just continue to add more until you feel happy with the texture of your basil pesto. You may decide to turn the blender on low for a few seconds if you desire a smoother pesto.  

Related: Learn more about Lectin Shield and a low-lectin diet on Pinterest.

There you have it! Making Dr. Gundry’s delicious basil pesto recipe is THAT easy. The quick 2-step process is all you need to create a superfood dip that not only adds a pop of color to just about any dish, but that also supports your overall health. Not only that, but it brings loads of traditional flavor to your favorite meals, dips, and smoothies. Whip it into guacamole or simply freeze it inside ice trays for single-serve doses of this treasured Italian herb dip. There is no recipe that pesto can’t freshen up – all year long! 

References: 

  1. LukasSchwingshackl, Georg Hoffmann. Monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil and health status: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Lipids Health Dis. 2014; 13: 154. 
  2. SELF Nutrition Data. Extra Virgin Olive Oil Nutrition Facts & Calories.
  3. Puertollano MA, Puertollano E. Olive oil, immune system and infection.NutrHosp. 2010 Jan-Feb;25(1):1-8. 
  4. Mente A, de Koning L. A systematic review of the evidence supporting a causal link between dietary factors and coronary heart disease. Arch Intern Med2009;169:659-69.
  5. RattanachaikunsoponP, Phumkhachorn P. Antimicrobial activity of basil (Ocimum basilicum) oil against Salmonella enteritidis in vitro and in food. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2010;74(6):1200-4. Epub 2010 Jun 7. 
  6. EsraBirben, PhD, Umit MuratSahiner, MD. Oxidative Stress and Antioxidant Defense. World Allergy Organ J. 2012 Jan; 5(1): 9–19. 
  7. Juliani, H.R. and J.E. Simon. 2002. Antioxidant activity of basil. p. 575–579. In: J. Janick and A. Whipkey (eds.), Trends in new crops and new uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.
  8. GülçinI, Elmastaş M. Determination of antioxidant and radical scavenging activity of Basil (Ocimum basilicum L. Family Lamiaceae) assayed by different methodologies. Phytother Res. 2007 Apr;21(4):354-61. 
  9. SzymanowskaU, Złotek U. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidative activity of anthocyanins from purple basil leaves induced by selected abiotic elicitors. Food Chem. 2015 Apr 1;172:71-7. 
  10. Shechter M. Magnesium and cardiovascular system. Magnes Res. 2010 Jun;23(2):60-72. 2010 Mar 31.
  11. UweGröber, Joachim Schmidt. Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy. Nutrients. 2015 Sep; 7(9): 8199–8226.
  12. Marc Maurice Cohen. Tulsi -Ocimumsanctum: A herb for all reasons. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014 Oct-Dec; 5(4): 251–259. 
  13. Gayathri Ramesh, RameshNagarajappa. Estimation of salivary and tongue coating pH on chewing household herbal leaves: A randomized controlled trial.Anc Sci Life. 2012 Oct-Dec; 32(2): 69–75. 
  14. Emilio Ros. Health Benefits of Nut Consumption. Nutrients. 2010 Jul; 2(7): 652–682.
  15. Mikhail Kogan, MD, Carlos Cuellar Castillo, MS. Chronic Rhinosinusitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Case Report.IntegrMed (Encinitas). 2016 Jun; 15(3): 44–54. 
  16. KayinXiea, Elizabeth A. Miles. A review of the potential health benefits of pine nut oil and its characteristic fatty acid pinolenic acid.