Sweet Lemon Pesto Sauce

Lemon Pesto Sauce marks the beginning and end of summer on our farm. When the basil plants are at their edge, just about ready to give all that they are going to give it’s the perfect time to make Pesto. If you want the taste of summer around all winter, spend an hour or so making pesto. This Lemon Pesto Sauce is easy to make and freezes well in an ice-cube tray. After I make the cubes, I store them in an airtight plastic bag in the freezer. Throughout fall and winter, in a pinch, I pull out one of the cubes and add it to a pan with a little olive oil to bring it back to life and serve over a fresh-made pasta or pasta alternative. It’s also delicious on grilled veggies and bread.

lemon pesto sauce on tagliatelle with basil leaves and a fork and spoon on a rustic wood table
Tagliatelle with lemon basil pesto sauce straight from the farm

History of Pesto

Pesto originated in Genoa, Italy somewhere around the 16th century and was made of crushed garlic, basil and pine nuts blended with Parmesan cheese and olive oil. The name Pesto comes from the Italian word pestâ, which means to pound or to crush. Traditionally, this was done with a mortar and pestle, today we use a blender, the main goal is to release the essence of the Basel by grinding the leaf when mixing in all of the other ingredients.

How to make pesto with fewer than 10 ingredients

First, you’ll need to gather these ingredients:

  • Basil leaves 
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • Pine nuts
  • Grated parmesan pecorino romano
  • Waxing Kara Honey
  • Garlic cloves
  • Lemon juice
  • Lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper
lemon pesto sauce raw ingredients including basil, cheese, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil in glass containers
Making lemon basil pesto with fewer than 10 ingredients

Instructions:

Wash and pat dry the basil. Remove the stems and discolored leaves.
In a food processor or a blender (set to pulse), combine all of the ingredients except for the salt and pepper.
Process until almost smooth (this should take only a few seconds).
Scrape the inside of your container if necessary.
Give the pesto a taste and add your desired amount of salt and pepper.
The cheese may be salty enough already, so be careful with how much you add!
Serve over pasta, on a hot sandwich, or over roasted vegetables or crusty bread.

Pesto with Walnuts in a white bowl on a green napkin on a wood table with fresh basil
Lemon Pesto Sauce in bowl ready to serve

Adapting this Sweet Lemon Pesto Sauce Recipe

Recipes are meant to serve as inspiration. That’s the way we see it. You don’t have to make this Lemon Pesto recipe exactly the way our recipe is written. Get creative. Experiment. Try something different. Here are some ideas in case you need a little boost with adapting this recipe:

  • Swap parsley with the basil for a less sweet sauce
  • Can you imagine a teaspoon of dried herbs like rosemary, thyme, and any of your other favorites added to the mix? That would be so good!
  • Use shallots instead of garlic for a more mild seasoning
  • Why not serve this pesto on top of zoodles (noodles made with zucchini) for a low carb treat?
  • Consider serving this as an alternative topping to grilled corn or grilled veggies.

If you decide to try this recipe, be sure to take a photo and share them with us using #waxingkararecipes on Instagram. We love seeing your photos!

lemon pesto sauce on tagliatelle with basil leaves and a fork and spoon on a rustic wood table

Sweet Lemon Pesto Sauce

Course: Sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 431kcal
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Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup fresh basil leaves destemmed
  • 2 c olive oil extra virgin
  • ¼ c pine nuts
  • ¼ c grated parmesan pecorino romano
  • 2 tbsp Waxing Kara Honey
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Wash and pat dry the basil. Remove the stems and discolored leaves.
  • In a food processor or a blender (set to pulse), combine all of the ingredients except for the salt and pepper. Process until almost smooth (this should take only a few seconds). Scrape down the inside of your container if necessary.
  • Give the pesto a taste and add your desired amount of salt and pepper. The cheese may be salty enough already, so be careful with how much you add!
  • Serve over pasta, on a hot sandwich, or over roasted vegetables or crusty bread.

Nutrition

Calories: 431kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 39mg | Potassium: 35mg | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 210IU | Vitamin C: 3.4mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 0.6mg