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Roasted Garlic Paleo Pesto

I have a secret.

I make BIG batches of paleo-friendly sauces, store them in my fridge, and then use them to transform my food all week into amazing globe-trotting flavorful grub.

I’ve spent a long time perfecting my sauces and I’m ready to share one with you today.

I’m thrilled to introduce you to my Roasted Garlic Paleo Pesto.

Recipes don’t get much easier, or more flavorful, than this one.


Roasting the garlic is the most time consuming part, which is compensated by the fact that your house will smell like an Italian villa for the rest of the day. I love the smell of roasted garlic. Don’t be intimidated by the process! It’s super easy.

Pesto is typically made with a good amount of cheese. I add the roasted garlic to offset the missing cheese flavor, toasted some pine nuts {for even more flavor}, and used a lot of really fresh basil.

Don’t worry, the pesto doesn’t scream “GARLIC!” … it screams “holy cow what is in this magic green paste that tastes so amazing?!”

What do you do with a big bowl of pesto?

Put it on everything! Really, it’s good on pretty much anything you can dream up.

My next two posts will show you a couple examples {a breakfast recipe & a dinner/entertaining recipe} of how you can use the pesto.

I hope you louvre it!


For starters, grab some fresh garlic and preheat your oven to 375 F.


Peel the outer layer of the garlic off {leaving the individual cloves still attached to each other} and chop off the top of the bulb. You want to cut the top off of each bulb so you may need to get creative to access the side bulbs that are missed with the first cut.


Wrap in aluminum foil. Do this by placing the bottom of the garlic in the middle of a foil square and bring the sides up and over the cut side, twisting it closed.


I like to bake mine in a muffin pan so that they stay standing upright. I want all the garlic juices to stay in their little nature-made pouches.


Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until they look like THIS! I made a double batch because I was cooking for an army. Now you’re done with the garlic. Wasn’t that easy??


Now it’s pine nut time.


Put a small/medium-sized frying pan on medium/low heat. Add the pine nuts and continuously toss and stir them until they’re slightly brown and fragrant. They burn easily so make sure you stir constantly. This should take about 3-4 minutes.


Measure out 1 cup of packed fresh basil leaves.


Add them to your food processor and squeeze in the juice of one lemon.


Now it’s garlic squeezing time. Hopefully your garlic has cooled to the point that you can pick it up. Start squeezing the bulb so that the now soft cloves ooze out and into your pesto.


I like to get every. last. bit.


Now, add half of your EVOO.


Throw in the toasted pine nuts {which have also helped make your house smell amazing}.


Pulse your food processor until it’s pretty well blended. Scrape down the sides with a spatula so that everything blends the next time.


Add the salt.


Add pepper to your liking.


Add the rest of the EVOO.


Now pulse the food processor until it’s smooth, creamy, and ba-licious.



Roasted Garlic Paleo Pesto

Makes ~1 cup


1 cup Packed Fresh Basil Leaves

1 Garlic Bulb

¼ cup Pine Nuts

1 Lemon {juiced}

¼ cup EVOO {extra virgin olive oil}

¼ tsp Kosher Salt

Cracked Pepper to Taste



Preheat oven to 375 F.

Peel the outer layers of the garlic skin off leaving the cloves still attached.

Cut the top of the bulb off. Make sure to cut the tops of cloves hiding on the side.

Wrap in aluminum foil with the cut side up.

Bake at 375 F {balance in the muffin pan} for 30-45 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool before you handle.


Toast the pine nuts in a small/medium-sized pan over low/medium heat. Stir them constantly and remove from heat when they’re slightly brown and fragrant. {Careful, they can burn easily}.

Add basil, lemon juice, roasted garlic, ½ the EVOO, and toasted pine nuts to a food processor. Pulse until it’s evenly combined.

Add the salt, pepper, and remaining EVOO to the food processor. Pulse until it’s smooth and cream.


Active Time: 5 min

Baking Time: 45 min


17 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lovely detailed instructions! And so much healthier without the cheese..

    May 24, 2013
  2. Mm, the pesto looks divine! I’ll have to try this on my favorite summer dish: zucchini noodles and cherry tomatoes (usually mixed lightly with olive oil and black pepper). The little jar is charming as well.

    May 27, 2013
    • That sounds delicious!! Zucchini and cherry tomatoes just made my weekly grocery shopping list! Thank you 🙂

      May 28, 2013
  3. Jordan #

    I made this pesto, and although tastes amazing, it’s not as creamy looking at yours. suggestions?

    July 1, 2013
    • Hi Jordan! Hmm … the difference could be in how quickly you added the olive oil to the rest of the pesto. Next time you give it a try, add the olive oil in more slowly (not quite as slowly as you would when making mayo) and see if that helps the texture.

      July 7, 2013
  4. I love the tip on roasting garlic in foil. I’ve tried that before it works great if you seal the garlic very tight.

    July 8, 2013
    • Thanks, Chloe! You’re so right – sealing it very tight is important!

      July 8, 2013
  5. Rachel #

    The Husband and I are CrossFitters, and while we generally adhere to clean eating, we haven’t taken on the paleo challenge. Until now, that is. I made this delicious pesto and used it, along with some tomatoes, to top our freshly caught fish tonight and we loved it! Thanks for the recipes. Keep ’em coming!

    July 16, 2013
    • It’s my pleasure, Rachel! Thank you for the note! I’m so glad y’all liked the pesto.

      July 16, 2013
  6. Angela #

    I made this tonight and slathered some on grilled chicken. Ahhhh-mazing!!!! So delicious, thanks for the recipe….and the house smells amazing, too!

    November 10, 2013
  7. Kelly #

    Love the jar. Where do you get them?

    January 11, 2014

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Mini Paleo Chicken Pesto Pizzas | Fed and Fit
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  4. Paleo Chicken Pesto Salad | Fed and Fit
  5. Is Garlic Paleo? | The Paleo Diet Food List

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