This basil pesto recipe is so easy and comes together in less than 5 minutes. Pesto is made with a combination of fresh basil, nuts, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. It's a delicious addition to pasta, salads, sandwiches, and more!
Pesto is one of my favorite condiments that instantly brightens and enhances the flavors of any dish. I love having a jar of this stuff handy for making quick and easy dinners, adding it to salads, sandwiches, or as a delicious snack with some crusty bread. This basil pesto recipe is so easy to make and the flavor is far superior to anything you'd get from the store.
HOW TO MAKE BASIL PESTO
All you need is a food processor and making pesto is a breeze. With so few ingredients it's crucial they are very fresh and high-quality.
- Basil: Look for the freshest basil you can find, I love the live plants you get from the grocery store because the basil stays fresh as long as you keep watering it. You can also plant basil, which is very easy to grow in a warm environment and with plenty of water.
- Garlic: Pesto is known for its' strong garlic-y flavor, use 2 large cloves or 3-4 if they are pretty small.
- Pine nuts: These add a delicious nutty flavor to the pesto. Sometimes I use walnuts or almonds instead, which is also delicious.
- Parmesan cheese: Use fresh-grated for the best flavor.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: Make sure you use high-quality olive oil for the best flavor.
- Salt & pepper: Essential for flavor!
- Lightly toast the pine nuts (optional) and grind in the food processor with 2 cloves of garlic. There's no need to chop the garlic - the food processor will do that for you.
- Add in the fresh basil, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper, and pulse until no large chunks of basil remain.
- With the food processor running on low speed, pour in the olive oil and continue to process until smooth. Taste and add more seasoning if needed.
Store homemade pesto in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 1 week. To freeze pesto, add it to ice cube trays until frozen and then keep in a plastic bag for up to 6 months.
- Swap out the nuts. Pine nuts are my favorite for pesto, but they can be pretty pricey so I'll often switch them out with some chopped walnuts or almonds instead. I've also had a delicious pesto that was made with pistachios.
- Add some lemon juice for a bright, citrusy flavor.
- Use a different type of cheese or leave it out altogether for vegan pesto.
- Add in some vegetables such as spinach, roasted peppers, or sundried tomatoes.
- Swap some of the olive oil and add in an avocado instead.
- Farfalle pasta with pesto sauce, arugula, and cherry tomatoes.
More Sauce Recipes:
Basil Pesto Recipe
- Food processor
- 2 cups fresh basil, loosely packed
- 2 large cloves garlic
- ½ cup pine nuts
- ⅓ cup freshly-grated parmesan cheese
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Lightly toast the pine nuts (optional) and pulse with the garlic in the bowl of a food processor.
- Add in the basil, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper, and pulse until no large chunks of basil remain.
- With the food processor running on low speed, pour in the olive oil and blend until smooth.
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week.