Monday, May 24, 2010

Lighter Tomato Pesto Sauce

I know I'm behind the times but I just got a food processor this past weekend! I know, I know, shocking right? I have wanted to make so many recipes and been unable to because of my lack of food processor. It reached a point where I just needed one so I went on Friday and picked one up. I was trying to decide what my first meal would be using my food processor and pesto sauce seemed like a natural choice. I had a fresh basil plant in my kitchen that could use a little pruning, so pesto it was.

I'm not the biggest fan of pesto but John loves it. I can't really eat it unless there are some tomatoes or other flavor mixed in with the pesto sauce. Luckily I had some grape tomatoes to use up. I also wanted to reduce the fat because typically pesto is a very calorie loaded sauce. I was really pleased with the end results of this sauce. If you are a die hard pesto fan you might not love this, it isn't traditional in it's flavors, but it is definitely delicious. The basil has a starring role but it isn't the only flavor you taste. You definitely can taste the tomatoes too. Overall quite delicious and I look forward to using up the remaining sauce in a recipe later this week!

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original


1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp. chopped walnuts
10-15 grape tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup fat free chicken broth
1 tsp. corn starch

1- In a food processor, process the basil, tomatoes, walnuts, and garlic until all are finely chopped.
2- Pour in the olive oil and pulse a few times until the oil is dispersed. Scrape down the sides and empty the contents into a small bowl.
3- In a small saucepan combine the chicken broth and corn starch, whisking to combine.
4- Add the contents of the pesto from the small bowl. Season well with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
5- Reduce head to low and allow to simmer over low for 20 minutes.
6- Serve over pasta, chicken, or fish.


  1. Thanks for a great recipe! I have tons of basil in my garden so this is perfect!

    Enjoy your food processor!

  2. Love that you lightened pesto---it grosses me out when its super oily! I'll have to give this version a shot.

    I looooooove my food processor and use it way more than I thought I would!

  3. thanks for posting a lighter version of pesto. once I get the snails to stop eating my basil I am going to give this one a try! :) I like the idea of adding tomato too it too...I wonder how it would be as a pizza sauce?

  4. Janet- it would definitely work as a pizza sauce. Just add less chicken broth (maybe 3/4 of a cup instead of 1 cup) so its a bit thicker.

  5. Can you make it without nuts? I have not been able to find a pesto I can eat since they all seem to have nuts. I have tried just basil with olive oil with no success. Thanks!

  6. Amy- this recipe barely had any nuts because I was trying to keep the fat/calories down, so yes, you can easily take out the nuts and not effect the taste of THIS recipe. Just up the cheese. However, that traditional pesto flavor comes from the combo of nuts and basil, so unfortunately it's hard to replicate without nuts. I rarely use nuts when I make pesto because I want to make it lighter but it really is what gives it that signature taste.