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Lifestyle Tips

Breaking down the latest research on Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition
Written By: Dr. Barry Sears, Ph. D | Creator of the Zone Diet

Written by Mary Perry, Zone Director of Clinical Trials
on July 09, 2020

Basil is an herb that is in abundance in the summer months as it thrives in warm weather. It is easy to grow in containers, raised beds or even on your windowsill. Basil is a delicious addition to tomato and mozzarella, pasta, salads or even its occasional debut in ice cream. It is also one of the main ingredients in pesto sauce. Pesto consists of basil, garlic, pine nuts, hard cheese and olive oil blended together. It is easy to make, rich in polyphenols and a great accompaniment to Zone PastaRx. Check out our recipe below.

071020 Pesto RecipeBlog


Yield: Approximately 1 1/3 cups. Serving Serving 1 teaspoon.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes


2 cups packed fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup pine nuts (walnuts can be used too)

2 cloves garlic or 1 tsp chopped

1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese

2/3 cup Zone Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. In a food processor or mini food processor pulse the basil leaves and pine nuts several times.
  2. Add garlic and cheese and pulse a few times making sure to scrape the sides.
  3. With the food processor still going, slowly add the Extra Virgin Olive Oil through the hole in the top of the lid in a steady stream. Blend until EVOO is fully incorporated.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Enjoy! Makes a great addition to Zone PastaRx Fusilli

Notes: To avoid turning brown, cover pesto tightly with plastic wrap and make sure the plastic sits on top to avoid air getting in. Refrigerate up to 5 days. If you want to make bigger batches you can freeze pesto in ice cube trays. Once the cubes are frozen store in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.

Variations: If you don't have all the ingredients for pesto use what you have on hand. Here are some suggestions for substitutions.

Basil: Other leafy greens can work in place of basil like spinach, arugula, or I've even seen recipes with parsley, cilantro, and rosemary.

Nuts: Pine nuts can be pretty pricy and since you don't need many in this recipe you can substitute other nuts you might have on hand like walnuts, pistacchios or cashews.

Cheese: Other hard cheeses can be used in place of the Pecorino Romano. If using parmesan cheese avoid the shaker style parmesan cheese and go with shredded parmesan instead.

Nutrition Facts: 1 tsp =  25 calories, 2.5g Fat, 0g Carbohydrate, 0g Protein. 





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