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A white plate with fresh basil pesto on it.

Basil Pesto

Easy, fresh, basil pesto.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Calories 700kcal


  • 2 1/2 cups fresh basil (packed)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil


  • Add the basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and parmesan to the bowl of your food processor (or blender). Pulse until the ingredients are incorporated.  
  • With the food processor on, stream in the olive oil. I like my pesto a tad chunky, so I don't overdo it with the food processor. Taste the pesto, add salt and pepper to taste. 


For a stronger flavor use Romano cheese.  
Basil is a strong and very aromatic herb. Some may not like the overly strong flavor and taste of a full basil pesto. To mellow out the flavor use half basil leaves and half spinach leaves. You'll still be able to taste the basil but it won't be as pronounced.
You don't have to use pine nuts in homemade pesto. In fact feel free to use walnuts or even pistachios. I use pistachios to make kale pesto and it's divine. 
To make vegan: Instead of using parmesan cheese, add in 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast. This will give a cheesy flavor without the actual cheese needing to be involved.
Pesto will stay good in the fridge for about 1 week.
To freeze: If you plan on freezing your pesto sauce, it’s best to not add the cheese to the recipe until you’re ready to serve. The cheese doesn’t freeze very well and you can easily stir some grated parmesan into the pesto before serving.
Another good tip is to freeze it in small batches so you don’t have to thaw it all at once. Using an ice cube tray you can get small portions really easily. After they’ve frozen solid, simply remove from tray and place in a Ziploc baggie and continue freezing until you’re ready to use!


Calories: 700kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 72g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 985mg | Potassium: 212mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 1780IU | Vitamin C: 6.4mg | Calcium: 355mg | Iron: 2.4mg