Joyous Blog

Lemon Basil Pesto

May 5, 2016 BY Joy McCarthy

If you saw my Facebook Live a couple of weeks ago, I showed you how to make what has become a staple in my joyous kitchen. It's a super simple recipe that literally takes just five minutes to make.

Pesto is the perfect partner for a quick pasta dish, but you can also use it as a dip for flatbreads and crackers, as a spread for sandwiches or a sauce for a gluten-free pizza. You can easily personalize this pesto by experimenting with additional ingredients. (I personally adding sundried tomatoes.)

For this recipe, I'm going to keep it fairly classic with a lemon basil pesto. 

No pesto's truly complete without the basil that gives pesto its signature taste. But this herb is more than just tasty, it's also chock-full of health boosting nutrients. Basil's got:

  • blood-building folate and iron;
  • antioxidant, skin health–boosting vitamins A and C;
  • magnesium (nature's mineral chill pill!); and
  • anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

For an extra dose of super healthy plant-based omega-3s, I've used hemp hearts instead of the pine nuts you'll usually find in pesto. I love adding hemp to my recipes. Hemp hearts are shelled hemp seeds and they're a great way to add blood-sugar balancing healthy fats. You'll find me using hemp hearts in everything from my Vanilla Chai Truffles , to Spicy Hot Chocolate , to Sweet Pea and Mint Dip .

  • 2 cups fresh spinach (loosely packed)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/2-1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • Pinch of sea salt to taste
  1. Add all ingredients to food processor (I use a mini one)
  2. Blitz to desired consistency
  3. Enjoy!


Give a taste test and add more of what ever your taste buds desire

What's your go-to way to perk up a pasta or pizza? Let me know in the comments below!

May 5, 2016 BY Joy McCarthy
Dawn   •   May 12, 2016

Going to try the pesto recipe! I make the raw cacao vegan balls all the time (surely a staple in our home). I miss your recipe videos - guessing you're very busy with your sweet baby these days!

Heather Allen   •   May 12, 2016

Hi Dawn! Joy has been posting quite a few videos on her Youtube Channel lately! Feel free to subscribe for all the latest and greatest cooking videos: I hope you enjoy the pesto :) Heather- Joyous Health team

Lisa Locke   •   May 13, 2016

Hi Joy, I am a newbe to your website but I love your recipes. Was wondering if your book is available in Kindle edition? Lisa

Heather Allen   •   May 13, 2016

Hi Lisa! Welcome and thanks for your lovely message :) The book is available in a kindle edition. Here's the link: Have a joyous day! Heather- Joyous Health team

Connie   •   May 17, 2016

Your lemon basil pesto talks about basil but yet the recipe calls for spinach???

Heather Allen   •   May 17, 2016

Hi Connie! The recipe calls for basil as well. Feel free to use additional basil in place of the spinach if you prefer, but we think it's tasty this way :) Heather- Joyous Health Team

Amy   •   March 4, 2017

Hi! This recipe sounds awesome - how long do you think it lasts in the fridge?

Joy McCarthy   •   March 4, 2017

It's delicious! About 5 days in the fridge. Enjoy!

Jill forester   •   June 14, 2017

Do you ever use hemp powder instead of hearts? Thanks! Xoxo

Joy McCarthy   •   June 15, 2017

I sure do! My daughter loves it in her smoothies too.

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