Genoese pesto is one of the classic condiments for pasta dishes that can never be missing in the pantry: low in saturated fats and rich in fiber and minerals , it represents a perfect combination for those who want a quick but at the same time healthy, light and tasty solution .

Why not give an exotic touch to the traditional pesto from time to time by replacing its main ingredient, that is the common basil, the Perilla or Japanese Basil ?

Below is the recipe for the preparation of the most famous sauce of Liguria, but cooked with the fragrant leaves of this aromatic plant of oriental origins.


  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 80 ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • 25 gr of perilla leaves
  • 4 teaspoons of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of pine nuts
  • 1 pinch of coarse sea salt


As per tradition, the leaves should not be washed at all, but gently cleaned with a damp cloth, so that they do not lose the precious essential oil.

  1. Peel the garlic and crush it in a mortar; when it becomes a cream add the Perilla leaves (or a mix of Perilla / Basil, if you do not like the particularly intense flavor of this plant) together with a pinch of coarse salt, which serves to crush the fibers and maintain the original green color brilliant of the Perilla. It is not recommended to use a blender or a mixer, because the strong rotation speed of the blades would tend to heat the mixture leading to the loss of mineral salts.
  2. Crush the leaves well and, when you notice the sap coming out, add the pine nuts and continue to pound until it reaches a creamy consistency. The most leathery saps left at the end of the preparation must be carefully removed.
  3. Finally add the Parmesan a little at a time, continuing to mix, and finally the olive oil slowly, letting it mix slowly with the rest of the mixture.

Try to bring a touch of the Orient to your tables by revisiting this typical recipe of the Ligurian tradition and using it to season your pasta or rice dishes!

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