Perilla Pesto from Stephanie Weaver | Bright, herby, and fresh | Gluten-free, vegan, paleo, Whole30

Fresh, herby sauce for meat or pasta

You can make this pesto with any number of green herbs. A while back I was a member of a local CSA, and one week we got
an herb I had never seen or heard of, perilla, also known as wild sesame leaves. After some Web research, I decided to try making perilla pesto. It is delicious! Zingy and so fresh-tasting.

Try an Asian market for this herb, which is used extensively in Korean food. Ask for wild sesame or sesame leaves. If you can’t find it, substitute fresh basil. It is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae, for you botanists out there.

Suitable for:

all diets (note that you would not serve this with pasta for a paleo meal), and note ingredient omissions for migraine diet

Perilla Pesto from Stephanie Weaver | Bright, herby, and fresh | Gluten-free, vegan, paleo, Whole30

Perilla pesto

Fresh herby pesto from perilla
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings


  • 2 cups perilla leaves can substitute basil or another green herb like parsley or cilantro
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts omit for migraine diet
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (fresh) plus zest from 1 lemon, omit for migraine diet
  • 1 tsp sea salt kosher salt (omit for low-sodium diets)
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper


  • Wash, dry, and roughly chop the perilla leaves.
  • If you have raw pine nuts, lightly toast them in a dry skillet on medium heat for no more than five minutes. (If you follow a raw food diet, omit this step.) Mine came dry-toasted from Trader Joe's.
  • Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until it makes a fine paste. Taste and adjust seasonings.


Per serving:
  • 164 calories
  • 5 g fat
  • 1 g saturated fat
  • 0 g monounsaturated fat
  • 0 g polyunsaturated fat
  • 0 g trans fat
  • 0 g cholesterol
  • 533 mg sodium (reduce sodium by using quinrizo & salt-free broth)
  • 550 mg potassium
  • 25 g carbohydrate
  • 5 g fiber
  • 5 g sugars
  • 8 g protein
  • 4 Weight Watchers Points Plus
Serving suggestions: Over pasta, fish, or chicken, or as a dip for vegetables.
What's a CSA? CSA stands for community supported agriculture. It's a cooperative where individuals or families buy shares (monthly, quarterly, or annually) in exchange for fresh produce. You pick up a box once a week. This one features both fruits and veggies, all organic. It's cheaper than the farmer's market or organic produce in the grocery store, because you are buying directly from the farmers. Plus, it helps support local farms, because they get paid up front, which allows them to run their farms and support their families. If you can afford to buy organic produce, check to see if there is a CSA in your area.