Light Pesto Recipe

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"I adapted this recipe by substituting fresh lemon juice for olive oil—cutting the fat, but not the flavor," says Cynthia Nardi from Uhrichsville, Ohio. "
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 5 min.
MAKES:5 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 5 min.
MAKES: 5 servings


  • 4 ounces Romano cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2-2/3 cups loosely packed fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Hot cooked spaghetti

Nutritional Facts

One serving (1/4 cup pesto) equals 155 calories, 11 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 24 mg cholesterol, 626 mg sodium, 5 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 9 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 fat, 1 vegetable


  1. In a food processor, combine Romano cheese and garlic; cover and process for 30 seconds. Add the basil, nuts, salt and pepper; cover and process until combined, about 15 seconds. While processing, add the lemon juice; process about 15 seconds longer or until combined. Toss the spaghetti. Yield: 5 servings.
Originally published as Light Pesto in Light & Tasty October/November 2003, p44

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Reviewed Jul. 5, 2013

"Wow! What a great recipe for a lighter calorie pesto! The taste is quite potent though but the positive side of that is you don't have to use as much. I will never make olive oil pesto again. The lemon replacement tastes just as good! Thanks!!"

Reviewed Aug. 20, 2011

"This is our go to recipe for a tasty pesto. I make 6 batches of this recipe every time I make it, and freeze it for future use. We recently tried it as the sauce for our pizza and our whole family loves it. Will definitely make it again and again."

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