Basil pesto is a fresh and delicious herb sauce. It can be tossed with pasta or spread on a sandwich. Learn how to make basil pesto right away.
The other day I visited the spa with my best friend. We visit Glen Ivy Hot Springs when we are in the mood for a spa day, palm trees, pools, and Peach Bellinis make this our favorite place. We enjoyed tanning, a facial, Peach Bellinis, and tasty lunch. Spa days need to come more often in my life, and facials ohhhh they are the best ever!!
Another favorite of mine? Basil Pesto. It was only when I was 19 that I realized my adoration for pesto. It's ironic because I worked at an Italian restaurant from 15-19 but never had any pesto while I worked there. Weirdly, the green color put me off. But now the rich green color excites me. Pesto Garlic Bread, Pesto Chicken Sandwiches, Creamy Pesto Pasta, Pesto Hummus, Pesto Pizza... the options are endless.
I usually buy pesto from Costco or Trader Joe's but the other week I questioned why I had I never made it. I couldn't come up with a good answer so I decided I better make some. It was simple, made in 5 minutes. And being the garlic lover that I am, I loved being able to adjust the amount of garlic. This is one of those things that you have to just make yourself, it is that easy.
Let's get to the recipe.
- Garlic Cloves. You can adjust the garlic to your liking, I felt like three cloves gave it a nice strong garlic touch without being too overpowering. I mince my garlic ahead of time to ensure I don't end up with any garlic chunks, I like it fully blended in.
- Pine Nuts. I prefer toasted pine nuts but you can use raw pine nuts. I get mine at Trader Joe's and store them in the fridge. To toast raw pine nuts at home just add them to a dry skillet over medium heat and toast for about five minutes.
- Parmesan Cheese. Good quality shredded parmesan cheese is needed, if possible shred it yourself for optimal flavor, as opposed to buying pre-shredded cheese. Because the cheese is quite salty I don't feel the need to add salt to my pesto. For a non-dairy cheese option, you could try using a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
- Fresh Basil Leaves. I grab the large container at Trader Joe's which leaves me a little bit extra for garnish.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. Don't skimp on low-quality EVOO here, use the good stuff! Light-in-color olive oil is perfect.
Once the pesto is made you can taste test and season with salt and pepper if desired.
For ingredient quantities please reference the recipe card below. On the recipe card there is a button for US or M (Metric) measurements.
Traditionally pesto would be made with a mortar and pestle but for ease, I use my food processor. In a food processor pulse garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, pinch of salt and basil leaves.
Pulse until fully combined, add in 2oz of olive oil, and pulse until you get a smooth texture, adding extra oil if necessary, making sure to scrape down the sides to ensure everything is evenly combined.
Store the basil pesto in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze it for up to three months.
I love to freeze pesto in my souper cube trays they are easier than using ice cube trays in the freezer.
I love taking a frozen cube of pesto and adding it to soups or sauces for a flavor bomb. Drizzling pesto on top of vegetables is one of my favorites too! Don't miss my how to on caramelized onions.
Walnuts, pistachios, or even almonds are great substitutes for pine nuts which can be expensive and hard to find.
Basil can also be expensive so substituting spinach, arugula, mint, cilantro, or parsley is a great option. Keep in mind it will alter the flavor.
You can use any Italian-style hard cheese in this recipe. Thin pecorino romano or grana padano.
Try using pumpkin seeds.
I used some of this pesto to make a pesto sauce for my Pesto Mac & Cheese.
My friend Ari makes this Pesto Gnocchi that has so much flavor going on, you gotta try it!
For another pesto check out my sun-dried tomato pesto recipe.
★★★★★ Please let me know if you make this recipe by leaving a star rating and comment below!Print
- 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1.5oz (¼ Cup) Pine Nuts, I prefer toasted but you can use raw
- 2.5oz (½ Cup) Parmesan Cheese
- 2.5oz (2 Cups) Fresh Basil Leaves
- 2.5-3oz (Roughly ⅓ Cup) Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt and Black Pepper, season to taste if desired
- In a food processor pulse garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt, and basil leaves. Pulse until fully combined, add in 2oz of olive oil, and pulse until you get a smooth texture, adding extra oil if necessary. Once the pesto is made you can taste test and season with salt and pepper if desired.
- Store the basil pesto in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze for it up to three months.
- Prep Time: 10 Minutes
- Cook Time: 0 Minutes
- Category: Sauce
- Method: Blend
- Cuisine: Italian