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Basil & Macadamia Pesto

4.4 stars, average of 26 ratings

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Pesto is one of the easiest low-carb & paleo condiments you can make at home. It literally takes just a few minutes to prepare and gives an amazing flavour boost to meat dishes, salads or even when used as a dip.

All you need is fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley, etc.), nuts like macadamias, almonds or pine nuts (or sunflower seeds if you are allergic to nuts), healthy oils such as extra virgin olive oil and seasoning of choice (lemon juice, lemon peel, garlic, etc.).

Those who can eat dairy should also try adding parmesan cheese! I prefer using soaked & dehydrated nuts (you can read more about the benefits of soaking nuts in this post).

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How to Store Pesto

You can keep your pesto in the fridge for up a week or two if it's stored properly. It helps to pour a thin layer of olive oil on the top, as it keeps it fresh for longer. If you want to preserve homemade pesto for longer, freeze it in manageable portion sizes by putting it in an ice-cube tray and keep in a plastic bag in the freezer for up to 6 months. Whenever you need to use it, just keep the required portion at room temperature until it melts.

Hands-on Overall

Serving size tbsp, 15 g/ 0.5 oz

Allergy information for Basil & Macadamia Pesto

✔  Gluten free
✔  Dairy free
✔  Egg free
✔  Nightshade free
✔  Pork free
✔  Avocado free
✔  Coconut free
✔  Fish free
✔  Shellfish free
✔  Beef free

Nutritional values (per serving, tbsp, 15 g/ 0.5 oz)

Net carbs0.5 grams
Protein0.5 grams
Fat9.5 grams
Calories88 kcal
Calories from carbs 2%, protein 2%, fat 96%
Total carbs0.9 gramsFiber0.3 gramsSugars0.2 gramsSaturated fat1.3 gramsSodium144 mg(6% RDA)Magnesium8 mg(2% RDA)Potassium39 mg(2% EMR)

Ingredients (makes 1 cup, 240 g/ 8.5 oz)

  • 2 cups fresh basil (30 g/ 1.1 oz)
  • 1/3 cup macadamia nuts (45 g/ 1.6 oz)
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts or more macadamia nuts (15 g/ 0.5 oz)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (120 ml/ 4 fl oz)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (30 g/ 1.1 oz)


  1. Wash the basil, peel and mash the garlic, juice and zest the lemon.
    Basil & Macadamia Pesto
  2. Place the oil, basil, garlic, lemon, macadamia and pine nuts, salt and pepper into a blender or a food processor. Basil & Macadamia Pesto
  3. Pulse until smooth. Optionally, add grated parmesan cheese and pulse for a few more seconds.
    Basil & Macadamia Pesto
  4. When done, use immediately or spoon the mixture in a glass jar, top with a bit of olive oil and seal properly with a lid. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Basil & Macadamia Pesto

Ingredient nutritional breakdown (per serving, tbsp, 15 g/ 0.5 oz)

Net carbsProteinFatCalories
Basil, fresh
0 g0.1 g0 g0 kcal
Macadamia nuts
0.1 g0.2 g2.1 g20 kcal
Pine nuts
0.1 g0.1 g0.6 g6 kcal
Garlic, fresh
0.2 g0 g0 g1 kcal
Lemon zest (peel), fresh
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Lemon (juice), fresh
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Olive oil, extra virgin
0 g0 g6.8 g60 kcal
Salt, pink Himalayan rock salt
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Pepper, black, spices
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Total per serving, tbsp, 15 g/ 0.5 oz
0.5 g0.5 g9.5 g88 kcal

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Martina Slajerova
Creator of

Martina Slajerova

I changed the way I ate in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. I had no energy, and I found it more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s when I decided to quit sugar, grains, and processed foods, and to start following a whole-foods-based ketogenic approach to food.

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Comments (12)

I can't remember if I have reviewed this recipe already, but it needs a million five star reviews because it's SOOOOOOO good! I have loads of times, usually with all macadamia nuts and keeping everything else the same. This is gorgeous on anything really, and is so easy to put together. I don't ever use any other pesto recipe. Thank you Martina!!

Thank you so much Anu! This is the one I always have in the fridge - and the Easy Wild Garlic Pesto but only when wild garlic is in season 😊

Hi Martina@ketodiet
I had trouble finding macadamia nuts but then found raw macadamia nuts(very expensive here ). Do I need to roast them before using them in pesto?

Hi Debbie, raw macadamia nuts are best as they taste more neutral. You can use any nuts or seeds instead. The best alternative would be either blanched almonds, cashew nuts or sunflower seeds but you could also use pine nuts.

Does this taste good with avocado oil too?

I would personally avoid using avocado oil as it was have a very strong taste that I personally don't like unless it's used for cooking. If you like the smell and taste of virgin avocado oil, you can use it - it is a healthy alternative as for MUFA content.

I made this last night and served it with zoodles and was Perfect!  Satisfied my pasta craving.  

Awesome! Thanks for making my recipe Maggie 😊

I made this at lunchtime.  OMG.  It is so truly amazing. Yum yum

Thank you Catherine, glad you liked it! 😊

Love the you're using macadamia nuts! Do you think I just just use more macadamias instead of pine nuts? They are not easy to find where I live...

Yes, you can use more macadamia nuts instead of pine nuts 😊