Low Carb Lemon Balm Pesto


Lemon balm, a fragrant herb with a delightful citrus aroma, often gets overshadowed by its more famous relatives like basil and mint. However, this versatile herb is a fantastic ingredient for a fresh, zesty twist on traditional pesto. Combined with low-carb ingredients, this Lemon Balm Pesto is perfect for those following a ketogenic or low-carb diet. It’s a bright, flavorful sauce that can be used in a variety of dishes, from zoodles to grilled meats. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also packed with nutrients and offers numerous health benefits.


Basic Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh lemon balm leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (or walnuts for a budget-friendly option)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1. Prepare the Ingredients

  • Start by washing and thoroughly drying the lemon balm and parsley leaves. Remove any tough stems as they can make the pesto bitter.

2. Blend the Ingredients

  • In a food processor, combine the lemon balm, parsley, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and garlic. Pulse a few times to break down the larger pieces.

3. Add the Olive Oil

  • With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Continue processing until the mixture is smooth and well combined.

4. Season and Finish

  • Add the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pulse a few more times to blend everything together.

5. Store the Pesto

  • Transfer the pesto to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for longer storage.

Nutrition Information (Per Serving)

  • Calories: 120
  • Total Fat: 12g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 4mg
  • Sodium: 80mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 2g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 2g

Benefits of Lemon Balm Pesto

1. Low in Carbohydrates

This pesto is designed to fit seamlessly into a low-carb or ketogenic diet, ensuring that you can enjoy its vibrant flavors without worrying about your carb intake.

2. Rich in Healthy Fats

The extra-virgin olive oil and nuts provide a generous amount of healthy fats, essential for those on a keto diet. These fats support heart health and provide long-lasting energy.

3. Packed with Nutrients

Lemon balm and parsley are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Lemon balm, in particular, is known for its calming properties and potential benefits in reducing anxiety and improving sleep quality.

4. Versatile and Delicious

This pesto can be used in countless ways. Toss it with spiralized zucchini noodles for a refreshing low-carb pasta, spread it on grilled chicken or fish, or use it as a dip for fresh vegetables.

5. Easy to Make

With just a few simple steps, this pesto comes together quickly. It’s a great way to use up an abundance of lemon balm if you have it growing in your garden.

Tips for Perfect Lemon Balm Pesto

1. Adjust to Taste

Feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your taste. Add more lemon juice for extra zing, or increase the Parmesan for a richer flavor.

2. Experiment with Nuts

While pine nuts are traditional, walnuts or almonds can be used for a different flavor profile. They also tend to be more budget-friendly.

3. Storing and Freezing

To keep your pesto fresh, store it in the refrigerator with a layer of olive oil on top to prevent oxidation. You can also freeze it in ice cube trays for easy portioning.

4. Use Fresh Ingredients

Fresh lemon balm and parsley are key to the bright, vibrant flavor of this pesto. Avoid using dried herbs as they won’t provide the same freshness and intensity.


Low Carb Lemon Balm Pesto is a delightful twist on the classic pesto recipe, offering a unique citrus flavor that’s both refreshing and versatile. It’s an excellent way to incorporate more herbs into your diet while staying aligned with low-carb or keto dietary goals. Whether you’re dressing up a simple plate of zoodles or adding a burst of flavor to grilled meats, this pesto is sure to become a staple in your kitchen. Easy to make and packed with health benefits, it’s a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal plan.