Brazil Nut Basil Pesto

Make this delicious dairy-free pesto and add it to pasta or vegetables for a quick healthy meal. This is a very healthy pesto recipe that includes Nutritional yeast instead of parmesan and brazil nuts instead of pine nuts.

Combined with fresh basil leaves, rich olive oil and garlic it makes a delicious sauce. Toss it with pasta for a quick weeknight meal!

Pesto is one of my absolute favorite sauces to make because it is so delicious and it's very versatile. You can add it to pasta, vegetables, sandwiches and more!

The traditional Italian pesto recipe calls for pine nuts and parmesan. I tweaked it a little to make it just a bit healthier. Two ingredients that I try to include in my diet regularly are brazil nuts and nutritional yeast. This makes the best pesto recipe (in my opinion)!

Brazil nuts are one of the most nutritional nuts on the planet! Sure they are high in calories and fat…but its' the good kind! The kind that actually helps increase good cholesterol. Most importantly (for me) they are high in selenium and magnesium. These minerals are especially helpful if you have chronic pain such as fibromyalgia. They also have a lot of B vitamins and are one of the most alkalizing nuts, where as many other nuts tend to be acidic. They also create a wonderful, creamy texture when processed. So, why not use these in pesto? I do and it's delicious!

Nutritional Yeast is packed with nutrients and makes a great addition to a healthy diet. It is very rich in B vitamins, including B12. It's rich in folic acid and many other nutrients, and contains over 18 amino acids.

Ok, so now that I have explained the health benefits of using these 2 ingredients, let's get on with the recipe!

Brazil Nut Basil Pesto


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup brazil nuts
  • 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
  • Sea Salt (or garlic salt) and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Red pepper Flakes (optional)


  1. Pulse brazil nuts a few times in a food processor before adding the basil. Add basil and pulse again.
  2. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
  3. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. (I use 1/4 cup flax oil with 1/4 cup olive oil...with the brazil nuts, it gives it a very creamy texture!)
  4. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the nutritional yeast and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.
  5. Serve with whole grain or brown rice pasta, & toss with sauteed mushrooms, onions, peas (or asparagus).
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Try these Pesto Recipes:

Pesto Pasta and Peas

Portobello Pesto Panini

Pesto Vegetable Wrap

Alternative Pesto Ingredients

The base of any pesto includes oil, garlic, nuts, and greens. There are numerous other combinations that you could use to make a pesto depending on what you like or have on hand. Some other options include:

  • Nuts: Walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, cashews
  • Greens: arugula, spinach , cilantro, parsley


Do You Miss Fresh Basil During the Winter? Want a quick, healthy meal any night of the week? FREEZE IT! You can make an abundance of pesto and freeze it to use during winter months or any time you need a healthy meal in a hurry. Pesto freezes very well. Just take it out, warm it up, and add it to pasta or vegetables. VOILA....a healthy pesto recipe in minutes! You can also use other greens that are in season instead of basil.

You can also add leftover pesto to vegetables to give them a

"Wow Factor!"

I love it on broccoli and asparagus!

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