I love basil, so of course I love pesto too, especially during the summer. But pesto is a little high in fat to be eating every day.
So I’ve been challenging myself lately to make a low-fat pesto that I love as much as the real thing. The problem with most low-fat pesto recipes is that they just don’t have that punch of basil flavor, or they aren’t very creamy. Most of them replace the oil with something less caloric, but yogurt is too tangy, and chicken stock doesn’t have the rich mouth feel that we love so much.
I analyzed a basic pesto recipe to find that just 4 tablespoons contain 237 calories, and 25 grams of fat. That’s a lot for just one component of a meal. (And if you’ve ever watched Ina Garten cook, you know that when she says add a cup of oil, it often looks like much more than a cup!)
I’ve come up with a lower-fat recipe that still tastes strongly of the summery basil we love so much. My current version has just 113 calories and 9 grams of fat for 4 tablespoons, so about half of the traditional kind.
Cook Time: 20 Min. • Serves: 2 • Calories: 600 • Total Fat: 25 grams • Protein: 30 grams
I use just a bit of ricotta cheese, and keep in some of the oil and the Parmesan. But i omit the traditional pine nuts – though i love their flavor, they just didn’t live up to their caloric weight.
For the Pesto Sauce:
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 2 medium cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta
- 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 oz parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Pasta:
- 6 oz Cup High Fiber Penne Pasta – you can find it at Trader Joe’s
- 1 Cup Artichoke Hearts, Chopped
- 2 Cups Arugula
- 1 Cup Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
For the Pasta:
- Bring 3 cups of water seasoned with olive oil and salt to a boil in a large sauce pan. Dump the penne into the water once it’s started boiling and cook according to the directions on the box, about 7-10 minutes.
- In the mean time add the sliced mushrooms to a large chefs pan with a few sprays of olive oil.
- Once the mushrooms begin to brown add the arugula and artichoke hearts to the pan and season lightly. Cook for about 3 minutes until the arugula has turned bright green and then remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
- Drain the pasta and mix it into the same pan as the mushrooms, arugula, and artichoke hearts.
- Stir in the Pesto sauce to complete then dish and you’re done!
For the Pesto Sauce:
- In a food processor, whiz the basil and garlic until minced.
- Add the ricotta, and use the feed tub to stream in the olive oil and water.
- Stir in the cheese and seasonings and mix into the pasta right before serving.
Look below for all the nutrition facts as well as a break down of the nutrition for all the ingredients!
|Ingredient||Linked To Nutritional Value||Cal||Fat||Carb|
|2 Each garlic||Garlic, cloves, fresh||4.5||0||1|
|.25 Cup ricotta||Cheese, ricotta, part skim||43||2.5||1.5|
|2 Tablespoon olive oil||Oil, olive, light (Store Brands)||120||14||0|
|1 Ounce-weight parmesan cheese||Cheese, parmesan, grated||61||4||0.5|
|.8 Teaspoon kosher salt||Salt, Kosher, coarse||0||0||0|
|.5 Each pasta||Pasta, linguini, dry, pkg (DeBoles)||210||1||41|
|16 Ounce-weight arugula||Greens, arugula, leaf, fresh||56.5||1||8|
|1 Cup mushrooms||Mushrooms, fresh, pces/slices||7.5||0||1|
|16 Ounce-weight basil||Herb, basil, leaf, fresh||50||1.5||4.5|
|.8 Teaspoon black pepper||Spice, pepper, black, dash||2.5||0||0.5|
|1 Cup artichoke||Artichoke, French, hearts, ckd, drnd||44.5||0.5||10|
Love to hear you thoughts below!