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Brazil Nut Pesto

Pesto is one of my favorite sauces. It’s delicious, colorful, and nutritious — and best of all, it couldn’t be easier to make. Just blend the ingredients in a food processor and you’re done!

Yet while millions of people love pesto, few of us would think of it as a health food. True, most of its calories and fat come from healthful, whole foods like olive oil and parmesan cheese. But most prepared pestos contain them in such large quantities that we should enjoy it only in moderation. (We all deserve an indulgent treat sometimes, right?)

Good news, though! I’ve created a pesto that packs an uncommonly big nutritional punch — and it’s good for your bones, too! 

How? Well, I started with all the elements of a classic pesto. Then I tweaked it with some bone-friendly additions that also boost the flavor profile. Sesame seeds and tahini add calcium (they’re two of the most calcium-rich foods on the planet). And Brazil nuts contribute selenium. 

Not familiar with selenium? Not a lot of people are. Yet it’s vital for maintaining optimal health. 

Selenium is an essential trace mineral — meaning that although it’s essential for your health, you need only small (trace) amounts of it. Some of selenium’s many amazing abilities: it supports healthy bone development, regulates proper thyroid function, and helps rid the body of toxic metals. Just one serving of this pesto covers your entire day’s requirement!

Enjoy this video we made to guide you through our super-simple recipe. Dinner will be ready in no time!

Brazil Nut Pesto

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 279 kcal


  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese*
  • 1/4 cup brazil nuts
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • *Vegan? No problem! Just substitute cheesy-tasting nutritional yeast, which is also high in B vitamins!
Nutrition Facts
Brazil Nut Pesto
Amount Per Serving
Calories 279 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 4mg1%
Sodium 116mg5%
Potassium 201mg6%
Carbohydrates 6g2%
Fiber 2g8%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 1455IU29%
Vitamin C 11.9mg14%
Calcium 158mg16%
Iron 1.8mg10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add more oil if needed.

Recipe Notes

Since pesto contains just a few ingredients, the quality of those ingredients really matters if you want the best flavor! If you can, choose an organic olive oil and real parmesan. Trust me — your taste buds will thank you. 🙂

Brazil Nut Pesto Final Thoughts

I hope you love this rich, savory, bone-healthy pesto as much as I do! Enjoy it over pasta, with vegetables, on crackers, or as a dip. Let me know what you think of it in the comments. And if you find other ways to enjoy it, please share that, too!

Author: Monica Straith, BS

Monica is the PR and Outreach Manager and Fitness Lead at AlgaeCal. She’s an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist, and has a B.S. and B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she played varsity soccer for four years. Monica pulls from her experience in athletics and health to contribute to AlgaeCal and has also been featured on myfitnesspal blog, Prevention, and Huffington Post.