Full of fresh, bright flavor, pesto is a quick, easy, delicious and healthy sauce/dip/spread. And you can use it so many different ways!

  • spread it on tomato or cucumber slices
  • use inside lettuce wraps, or in sandwiches made with CleanKeto mac nut bread
  • as a dip with veggies, pork rinds, or chicken chips
  • thin it with more olive oil and/or lemon juice and use it as a salad dressing
  • slather it onto fish or chicken before or after baking
  • toss with grilled veggies for a delicious side dish

Classic pesto uses pine nuts, which are delicious but are fairly inflammatory, with an Omega 6:3 ratio of 202 (the optimal ratio is <4). My pesto version takes the classic and makes it healthier and less inflammatory by using macadamia nuts instead! (To learn the many reasons why macadamia nuts are the healthiest nut, check out my post, CleanKeto Macadamia Nut Bread).

Ready in just a few minutes, my delicious, healthy macadamia nut pesto is low carb, Keto, CleanKeto, Paleo, and Whole30 friendly! (Basil is not a detox-booster, so skip this dip when you’re doing Dr. Emily’s 10-Day Detox).

Macadamia Pesto

Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Dip, Salad Dressing, Sauce
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: cleanketo, keto, low carb, paleo, whole30
Servings: 8
Calories: 167kcal


  • 1 Food Processor


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (stems trimmed off) tightly packed
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • cup macadamia nuts
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp lemon juice fresh squeezed if possible
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Put all ingredients except olive oil into food processor and process until smooth.
  • With food processor running, add olive oil in a slow, steady stream.
  • Taste pesto and adjust as needed for flavor and/or consistency.
  • Serve immediately, or store in an airtight glass jar in the refrigerator.
  • NOTE: For storing in fridge, smooth the surface of the pesto inside the jar so the surface is fairly level, then add a thin layer (~¼") of olive oil on top to keep pesto fresh and stop it from oxidizing (browning). It will keep for 2-4 weeks this way.
  • Alternatively, you can put the pesto into ice cube trays and freeze, then put frozen pesto cubes into a freezer-safe bag or container to protect from freezer burn - it will keep for a few months stored this way.


Serving: 1Tbsp | Calories: 167kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Sodium: 146mg | Potassium: 70mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 317IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg