Avocados are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. It’s packed with disease-fighting antioxidants, healthy fats, and almost 20 different vitamins and minerals that boost your health and wellness. Growing up, I had an aversion to all things green so I didn’t have much avocado, but I’ve made up for it in spades now that I’m more mindful of what I eat.
I probably eat about one whole avocado a day between my smoothies, salads, sandwiches, and even my homemade face masks–yup, avocado works for skin care, too!
A lot of people mistake avocado for a vegetable but it’s actually a fruit. Prized for its nutritious content, avocado is added to many dishes because of its silky texture and rich flavor. Nowadays, avocado has risen in popularity as a superfood among health conscious individuals and is now in many food products such as avocado oil, avocado mayonnaise, and many more.
In a standard serving of avocado (about 3 ounches), you get a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. These include vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, potassium, zinc, iron, and more. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats and low in saturated fat. It does not contain any sodium or cholesterol. (1)
I love this version of pesto because avocado adds a creaminess and richness to the recipe that oil can’t seem to do. Sure it’s greasy and spreads easily, but I can’t get enough of the texture of creamed avocado. Also, the calories from oil add up quickly, and although I highly recommend getting your daily dose of healthy fats, more is not always better.
Avocado Calories vs. Olive Oil Calories
As you can see, that’s a significant difference between the calorie content of ¼ cup of avocado and ¼ cup of olive oil. If you have this meal only every once in a while, it’s not really a big deal. If you’re anything like me and have this probably 4-6 times a week, the calories do add up.
For those who are trying to lose weight or maintain weight, do take note of your daily calorie intake and see whether you can afford the calories of oil-based pesto or my avocado-based pesto. Both are immensely satisfying, so you’re in for a treat either way.
Tip: Add Lime to Preserve Your Pesto
Perhaps the only challenging thing about making this pesto is making it last long enough for the week. Since the main ingredient is avocado, it won’t retain its beautiful green color for too long. I find that 3-days is best for storing your pesto without it losing its aesthetic appeal. My recipe calls for some lime, which adds flavor and the tanginess cuts through some of the richness of the avocado, but it also serves as a preservative to keep your pesto fresh for just a little bit longer.
Ways to Use Your Vegan Pesto
Now that you have your vegan pesto, now comes the fun part–what do you eat it with? There are so many ways!
- As sandwich spread
- As salad dressing
- As a healthy mayo substitute
- With pasta
- With zucchini noodles
- As a dip
- As flavoring for quinoa, lentils, etc.
Homemade Avocado Pesto (Addictive, Healthy and Oh So Good)
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- 1 medium ripe avocado, halved and pitted
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ grated Parmesan
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- water as needed
- salt, black pepper to taste
- Place the avocado flesh, basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth.
- While the food processor is running, add the water, 1 tablespoon at time, until until you reach your desired thickness.
- Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Use immediately or transfer into a jar and cover with a little oil so it doesn’t dry up.