Brazil Nut Pesto

Updated: July 8, 2022

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

Brazil Nut Pesto

This pesto packs an uncommonly big nutritional punch, and it’s good for your bones, too! Enjoy it over pasta, with vegetables, on crackers, or as a dip.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
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!


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


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. 🙂


Calories: 279kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 6gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 116mgPotassium: 201mgFiber: 2gVitamin A: 1455IUVitamin C: 11.9mgCalcium: 158mgIron: 1.8mg
Keyword pesto
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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!

Article Comments

Add New Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

  1. Jean

    June 29, 2019 , 4:46 pm

    Not a healthy or bone healthy recipe. Processed oils are liquid fat, dairy is not conducive to bone health and raw spinach is high on the oxalate scale.

  2. Patricia

    June 30, 2019 , 6:00 am

    Every food has yin and yang. You can replace the spinach with kale or collard greens. Look for non-dairy yogurt and organic olive oil with coconut oil. I enjoy playing with food and will try this pest with brazil nuts.Thank you for your creativity.

  3. Lucinda

    July 2, 2019 , 8:43 am

    Part of the bone healthy part is the Brazil nuts, which are high in selenium – ! Lucinda

  4. Nancy

    June 29, 2019 , 7:06 pm

    Cold pressed evoo is not processed, it’s pressed. It is extremely healthful.

  5. Blaire AlgaeCal

    July 2, 2019 , 4:00 pm

    It certainly is healthy, Nancy! Super tasty too ?

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

  6. Roseanna

    June 29, 2019 , 9:53 pm

    Olive Oil is not good . It’s very high in fat. Especially not good for people trying to reverse heart disease . Cheese is another no, no. Pritikin has a well researched paper on the perils of olive oil.

  7. Blaire AlgaeCal

    July 2, 2019 , 4:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing your concerns, Roseanna! Olive oil and cheese can be healthy in moderation – moderation is key! If you’re interested, we have an informative article on dairy here. Having said this, you can always adjust this recipe to suit your personal dietary needs. 🙂

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

  8. J Co

    June 29, 2019 , 10:41 pm

    No Basil in the pesto? We Italians like our basil which is the classic pesto. Though this sounds and looks like it could be good, I’m not so sure of the spinach factor. I’d prefer the basil.

  9. Blaire AlgaeCal

    July 2, 2019 , 4:03 pm

    Not to worry, J! Feel free to use basil instead of spinach ?

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal


    June 30, 2019 , 6:20 am

    Is there a substitute for Brazil Nuts. Would Cadjunuts or peanuts, Thanks

  11. Blaire AlgaeCal

    July 2, 2019 , 4:10 pm

    You can definitely switch up this recipe, Anberiya! You could try peanuts or even almonds. 🙂

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

  12. Michele

    June 30, 2019 , 11:09 am

    Pesto should be made with basil not spinach.
    Also one need one Brazil nut a day only to get the required amount of selenium. It is very easy to have to much selenium and become toxic.

  13. Blaire AlgaeCal

    July 2, 2019 , 3:52 pm

    Hi Michele,

    Thanks for sharing your feedback! This pesto recipe certainly isn’t traditional but it is nutritious and delicious! Feel free to swap out the spinach for basil if you prefer to. Keep in mind, this recipe makes 4 servings, so it is well within the safe selenium consumption limits. You can read about the wonderful health benefits of selenium here! ?

    Let us know if you have any questions!

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

  14. Joy

    May 17, 2023 , 11:42 am

    Toasted brazil nuts or raw?

  15. Brianne AlgaeCal

    May 17, 2023 , 2:56 pm

    Hi Joy! This recipe calls for un-toasted brazil nuts, but feel free to experiment, and let us know how it goes! 🙂

    – Brianne @ AlgaeCal

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,