Easy Light Pesto Bianco Recipe

Green and red Italian pesto are really popular, but have you ever tried an authentic white pesto or “pesto bianco”, as we call it?

Today, we are making a very easy and tasty one, that’s however much lighter than the other options out there.

What to expect: a garlicky white pesto goodness that’s creamy, nutty and a little cheesy. Sounds good, right?


What is Pesto Bianco?

Pesto bianco, also known as “white pesto,” is a variation of the more well-known green pesto sauce. While traditional green pesto is made with fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil, pesto bianco substitutes some of these ingredients to create a creamy, white version of the sauce.

Pesto bianco is quite versatile and can be used in various ways, much like traditional green pesto. It can be tossed with pasta, used as a sauce for chicken or fish, spread on sandwiches or bruschetta, or even used as a dip for bread or vegetables.


Where does Pesto Bianco come from?

Pesto bianco, also known as “pesto bianco Ligure,” is not as well-documented in terms of its origin compared to traditional green pesto. However, it is believed to have originated in the Liguria region of Italy, which is also the birthplace of the classic green pesto sauce.

Liguria, located in northwestern Italy along the Mediterranean coast, is famous for its cuisine, particularly its pesto sauce. Traditional Ligurian pesto, which is green in color, is made using fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. It’s a regional specialty that has become popular worldwide.

Pesto bianco likely emerged as a variation of the green pesto sauce in Liguria, with a few modifications to the ingredients.


pesto bianco white pesto ingredients


What is Pesto Bianco made of?

The primary ingredients in pesto bianco typically include:

  1. Pine Nuts: Just like in traditional pesto, pine nuts are a key component of pesto bianco, adding a rich, nutty flavor.
  2. Garlic: Garlic is used to give the sauce its characteristic savory and aromatic quality.
  3. Parmesan Cheese: Parmesan cheese is an essential ingredient that adds a creamy texture and a salty, umami flavor to the sauce.
  4. Olive Oil: Olive oil is used to bind the ingredients together and give the sauce a smooth consistency.
  5. Additional Ingredients: Some variations of pesto bianco may also include ingredients like ricotta cheese, cream, or other nuts (such as almonds or cashews) to enhance the creaminess and flavor of the sauce.


Make sure you are using high quality Italian ingredients like this EVOO, this Trofie Pasta, and this Garlic Paté (in case you want to use it instead of the garlic cloves).


Pesto Bianco Pasta Recipe

Now that you know what pesto bianco really is and the necessary ingredients, we can proceed to make it. Here’s the recipe card with all the steps, not many I promise.


tasting pesto bianco pasta

tasting pesto bianco pasta

Light Pesto Bianco Recipe

Step aside green pesto, today we are making a delicious white pesto that Italians call pesto bianco, with pasta of course.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 small portions
Calories 600 kcal


  • 1 blender
  • 1 silicone spatula
  • 1 medium sized pot
  • 1 pasta drainer
  • 1 grater



  • Blend garlic, pine nuts, pecorino and Belmorso EVOO.
    white pesto base
  • Season, and add cream. Mix and blend again.
    adding cream to white pesto
  • Boil the water for your pasta.
  • Add your trofie to cook.
    cooking Belmorso Trofie Pasta
  • Drain the pasta, reserving some cooking water, just in case.
  • Mix the pasta and the pesto bianco you made. Add cooking water only if needed.
    mixing trofie with pesto bianco
  • Serve with more grated cheese & some parsley on top. Buon appetito
    pesto bianco pasta


This recipe is a little caloric due to the higher amount of EVOO, and the pine nuts. However, if you are set on trying white pesto, this recipe is also one of the lowest calories out there. Others used 1 glass of EVOO instead, which is delicious but not ideal if you are counting your calories!
Keyword pesto bianco, white pesto

Common Questions about White Pesto

Can I make pesto bianco at home?

Yes, you can make pesto bianco at home. It’s a simple and versatile sauce that you can prepare using common ingredients like pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and sometimes ricotta or cream. You can adjust the ingredients to suit your taste preferences.


What dishes can I use white pesto in?

Pesto bianco is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, including:

  • Pasta: Toss it with pasta such as fettuccine, linguine, or penne.
  • Sandwiches: Spread it on sandwiches or panini for added flavor.
  • Chicken or Fish: Use it as a sauce for grilled chicken or fish.
  • Pizza: Drizzle it on pizza as a flavorful alternative to red sauce.
  • Vegetables: Roast or sauté vegetables and mix in white pesto.
  • Appetizers: Serve it as a dip with bread or crackers.


Is pesto bianco suitable for vegetarians or vegans?

Pesto bianco can be suitable for vegetarians, but it often contains dairy products like Parmesan cheese or ricotta. To make it vegan-friendly, you can substitute dairy-free alternatives like nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan cheese. Be sure to check the ingredients or make your own vegan version at home.


Are there any regional variations of white pesto?

Yes, there can be regional variations of white pesto in Italy and beyond. Different regions may have their own twists on the recipe, incorporating local ingredients and flavors. For example, Ligurian white pesto might have variations compared to a version from another region. It’s always interesting to explore these regional differences to discover new flavors.

Author: Alessia


Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.