Basil pesto that not only brightens summer dishes, but also gives your skin a summer glow—and just may have liver-detoxifying effects to counteract that bottle wine at dinner? Believe it!

Every summer, I get completely obsessed over making homemade basil pesto, especially the first big batch of the season when a bounty of basil in the vegetable garden is finally ready to be picked. For several weeks, I fanatically blend pesto in batches, knowing the small window of its season—and even Whole Foods won’t always have basil when it closes!

Then came another obsession…
After going down many rabbit holes of researching nutrient-dense foods and reading book after book by doctors and lifestyle bloggers in the quest for ultimate health and better skin, I took my favorite go-to basil recipe and gave it a mini makeover—with an exfoliating facial.

With just a few simple ingredient upgrades, “glow pesto” quickly became one of the foundations of the growing Milk Punch Media collection of healthier party pickups and drinks. We served glow pesto at the premiere Beauty + Booze event at Viking Cooking School spread over cauliflower pizza crust and topped with grilled Gulf shrimp as a hors d’oeuvre to “glowing” reviews!

The healthier hack
Pumpkin seeds, which are rich in zinc, stand in for pine nuts in the authentic Italian basil pesto recipe. “Zinc has been used as a nutrient for skin therapy for centuries, and it’s known for its wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties,” notes Dr. Trevor Cates aka The Spa Doctor and author of Clean Skin From Within.

It’s well documented that zinc is a key supplement for those suffering with acne and also supports the production of elastin in the skin. 

Heart-healthy olive oil even has a replacement in this pesto recipe. Avocado oil tops any list of healthy fats and is used as both a carrier oil in skincare and as a skin-enriching oil from the inside.

However, don’t pass up this recipe altogether if there’s no avocado oil in the pantry. Feel free to use classic extra-virgin olive oil and simply pick up avocado oil on your next grocery trip. I love the milder, buttery flavor the avocado oil imparts here and you will love cooking with it. The vitamins are the bonus!

Pesto loves to party
Then there’s the garlic. I double it! Garlic is well known for its health benefits, but when it comes to balancing healthier eating habits with our, um, drinking habits, we believe in garlic for its support of detoxification.

And we will always eat—and drink—to that!

Basil pesto that brightens summer dishes, gives your skin a summer glow and even has liver-detoxifying effects?

6 ways to serve glow pesto:

1Spread over pizza crust

For the ultimate light summer supper or hors d’oeuvre: spread glow pesto over a cauliflower pizza crust and top with grilled Gulf shrimp, my fave combo!

2Drizzle over tomatoes

When basil and tomatoes are simultaneously garden ready, marry the two in a peak-of-season side dish, a classic pairing.

3Toss with pasta

Pesto pasta salad is insanely delicious and picnic perfect! Toss with brown rice pasta as a vibrant side dish and serve at room temperature.

4Pair with grilled everything

Serve glow pesto with any cut of meat, chicken or salmon coming off the grill. Could a home-cooked main dish be any more healthful, buttery and amazing?

5Spoon over roasted beets

Elevate roasted beet salad with generous spoonfuls of glow pesto and dollops of goat cheese!

6Serve with summer squash

Cooked squash begs for smatterings of pesto! Think sautéed, grilled or on pizza.

Heady garlic and Parm…Hmmmm…that makes pesto and Napa Cabernet a perfect match {clink} or for a lighter option, opt for a Sauvignon Blanc. And what summer dish doesn’t pair beautifully with a dry rosé?

Don’t just snapchat your pesto, share jars of it! Clean out the spice cabinet and recycle spice jars for storing pesto. It also freezes well.

Pesto obsessedo? You need this recipe: Pesto Deviled Eggs.