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Is Pesto Keto?

Do you want to consume some pesto, but not sure whether this is even possible while on the keto diet? Will it put you at risk of exiting ketosis? Let’s find out!

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So, is Pesto keto? Most brands and recipes of pesto are keto-friendly. The average serving (2 tablespoons, or 31g) provides a decent amount of fats (~18g) and relatively low carbohydrate content – between 1-2 grams of net carbohydrates. That being said, some brands and recipes use healthier fats than others.

That’s the truth of it.

In reality, it depends on how much you decide to consume.

And pesto is easy to overdo – it’s delicious!

Either way, let us now look at how you can enjoy pesto on your keto diet, the best store-bought brands, and a quick keto-friendly pesto recipe; should you feel you want to make your own!

Can You Have Pesto On Keto?

You can enjoy pesto quite liberally on keto, obtaining a decent amount of fat without many carbohydrates simultaneously.

As a generalization, pesto is something you should be able to enjoy.

When we look at the traditional recipe, it looks pretty much close to ideal:

Pesto traditionally consists of crushed garlic, pine nuts, coarse salt, basil leaves, and hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Sardo, all blended with olive oil

Source: Wikipedia

However, this is just the traditional recipe.

And here is your average nutritional content, based on 1 tablespoon:

NameTotal
Calories85
Fat8.5g
Carbohydrates ~0.5g
– of which sugars0g
Protein1g
Fiber1g
Per Serving (2 Tablespoons, 31g)

Ideal right.

Sufficient fat, low carbohydrate, and low protein.

And that means you can consume quite a lot of Pesto without being at risk of being thrown out of ketosis.

But it does get a little more complex than this.

In reality, many brands have altered their recipe somewhat and this, therefore, makes some products better than others.

As we will now look at in the next section below.

What Are The Best Keto-Friendly Pesto Brands

The best keto-friendly Pesto brands are ones that are mostly comprised of Olive oil and follow traditional recipes as opposed to ones that contain vegetable oils.

Some of the healthiest fats you can consume on Keto are monounsaturated – found abundantly in olive oil.

These should be your focus, first and foremost.

And it is also strongly encouraged to avoid vegetable oils.

This is where we can differentiate between the best and the not-so-good brands.

Now, if we take a look at two different popular brands, Seggiano and Prego, we can see this unfold.

Let’s start with Seggiano.

Here is the ingredient list:

Olive Oil, Cashew Nuts, Fresh Basil (30%), Sea Salt, Pine Nuts.

Almost perfect, and as close to the traditional recipe as you can get.

And here is the nutritional content:

NameTotal
Calories170
Fat17g
Carbohydrates 1g
– of which sugars0g
Protein2g
Fiber2g
Per Serving (2 Tablespoons, 31g)

Looks great right?

Now onto Prego.

Here are the ingredients, followed again by the nutritional content:

Ingredients: Basil, Soybean Oil, Garlic, Romano Cheese (Part-Skim Cow’s Milk, Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Contains Less Than 1% Of: Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Rosemary Extract, Oregano, Water.

Now onto the nutritional content:

NameTotal
Calories100
Fat9.5g
Carbohydrates 2g
– of which sugars0g
Protein1.5g
Fiber1g
Per Serving (2 Tablespoons, 31g)

So relatively similar.

However, notice the big difference in the Prego brand – the use of Soybean oil as opposed to all olive oil.

So, do check the labels and look for that traditional recipe where the majority of the fat is coming from olive oil.

So there are certainly better options on the market.

And stick with products like Seggiano.

Besides, it’s available for purchase for a great price on Amazon.

Or alternatively, you can look at getting a variation, such as Pesto Mayo from Primal Kitchen.

A keto-certified brand, and a creamy avocado oil-based mayonnaise and pesto blend.

Delicious.

Keto Pesto Recipe

The truth is, pesto is one of the easiest sauces to make. It takes under a minute, will be extra fresh, and only requires minimal ingredients.

The following is a great, simple alternative to store-bought pesto.

It will also ensure you are focusing on the healthiest fats possible!

Ingredients

  • 2⁄3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup (2¾ oz.) Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 oz. (11⁄3 cups) Fresh Basil
  • 2 oz. Pine Nuts
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • Salt

Method

Step One: Add all of the ingredients to a food processor/blender and mix thoroughly.

And that literally, is it.

One step.

It’s essentially just blending.

As you would do with a smoothie.

Well, perhaps not so much on keto.

But the principle is the same.

And once you are done you can serve fresh, or refrigerate in an airtight container. It typically lasts for 2-3 weeks too!

Finally

Pesto is perhaps one of the best sauces you can enjoy on keto.

In fact, if you buy, or make one that uses a traditional recipe, you are going to be loading up on healthy fats and minimizing your carbohydrate consumption all at the same time.

But, just be careful what you eat pesto with.

That’s generally where you are at the biggest risk of being thrown out of ketosis.

It goes without saying, but you are not going to be enjoying this with pasta as the Italians do traditionally!

Related Questions

How Many Carbs Are In Pesto?

The average serving (2 tablespoons, or 31g) made from a traditional recipe of pesto contains 2 grams of net carbohydrates.