How to Sneak Goodness into Your Child’s Diet with Homemade Pine Nut and Basil Pesto

As parents, we all want our children to eat healthy, nutritious foods. But let’s be honest – getting kids to willingly gobble up their veggies can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. That’s where this delicious homemade pine nut and basil pesto comes in handy. It came about as an idea after one of our trips to Pizza Express. I had a side portion of Pesto Dough Balls and my super picky daughter Lillie was intrigued by the green sauce. I suggested she try a tiny bit on a doughball and it was an instant hit! This is the recipe she now makes at home:

Homemade Pine Nut and Basil Pesto


  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a food processor, combine the pine nuts, basil leaves, garlic, and Parmesan cheese.
  2. Pulse until finely chopped.
  3. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This vibrant green sauce is not only bursting with flavour, but it’s also packed with all kinds of goodness. The star ingredient, fresh basil, is loaded with vitamins A and K, as well as antioxidants that support immune health. The pine nuts provide a boost of protein, healthy fats, and minerals like magnesium and zinc. And let’s not forget the Parmesan cheese – it adds a savoury, umami-rich element while contributing calcium for strong bones. With just a few simple ingredients, I can whip up a nutrient-dense sauce that my kids actually enjoy eating.

Homemade Pine Nut and Basil Pesto

The beauty of pesto is its versatility. Rather than trying to get the Beans to eat a plate of plain steamed veggies, I can easily incorporate this flavourful sauce into their favourite meals. I toss it with pasta, spread it on sandwiches, or use it as a dip for fresh bread. For the slightly more adventurous it can even be stirred it into soups, stews, or scrambled eggs for an extra boost of flavour and nutrition.

Getting my kids involved in the kitchen is a great way to get them excited about trying new foods. I invite them to help me measure the ingredients, pulse the pesto in the blender, and taste-test the final product. Not only do they feel a sense of pride and ownership, but they’re also more likely to enjoy eating something they helped create.

By making homemade pesto a regular part of our family’s meals, I’m not only nourishing my children’s bodies but also their minds. When kids grow accustomed to the fresh, vibrant flavors of real, whole foods, they’re less likely to crave the processed, sugary snacks that can undermine their health.So the next time you’re looking for a delicious way to sneak some extra goodness into your child’s diet, reach for this easy-to-make pine nut and basil pesto. It’s a simple solution that’s sure to become a new family favourite.

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