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Easy Homemade Basil Pesto Recipe

Easy Homemade Basil Pesto Recipe

You will never use store-bought pesto again after seeing how easy it is to make your own with just a handful of ingredients. This simple recipe for homemade basil pesto can be used on a variety of recipes such as pasta, chicken, side dishes and salads.

One thing you will always find in our garden without fail is basil and a lot of it too! There is nothing better than the smell of fresh basil!

We use fresh basil a few ways: caprese salads, we hang it to dry it out and I make a lot of pesto out of it. I am a big fan of pesto!

Making your own pesto is super easy and way more flavorful and cost effective than any store-bought pesto you may find at a local grocery store. It’s extremely quick to whip up too, just 5 minutes!

Homemade Basil Pesto

This pesto recipe is a mixture of fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil. There are so many delicious flavors in pesto. The fresh herb flavor of the basil pairs just perfectly with the garlic and nutty flavor we add to make the sauce. This will become your family’s favorite pesto recipe.

I highly recommend growing your own basil plant. It’s our absolute favorite to grow! They grow very easily in containers and on a balcony garden.

Green basil leaves. Basil plant growing in garden

You can also pick up some fresh at your local farmer’s market.

Homemade Basil Pesto

How to Make this Easy Homemade Pesto Recipe

Main Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ to 3 cups of basil leaves – fresh, washed, dried, packed
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup grated parmigiano reggiano or pecorino romano
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, if desired
Homemade Basil Pesto

Instructions:

Toast pine nuts by placing them on a microwave safe plate or small bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds.

Stir and microwave again for another 30 seconds or until walnuts smell fragrant and are golden brown. Do not overcook. Allow pine nuts to cool slightly. You can also do this in a small frying pan on the stove top.

Place basil, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese in the bowl of a food processor.
Turn the food processor on and drizzle with a steady stream of additional olive oil as the mixture processes until the desired consistency is reached.

Homemade Basil Pesto

Transfer your pesto to a mason jar or air tight container.

Because fresh pesto will brown, drizzle a little olive oil on top of the pesto to prevent and stop the oxidation process.

Keep leftover pesto refrigerated.

Homemade Basil Pesto

How long does pesto last?

Store your fresh pesto in the refrigerator in an airtight container for about a week.

Homemade Basil Pesto

What to Serve with Pesto

The great thing about pesto is that it’s actually a very versatile sauce! While yes, pesto is traditionally served as a pasta sauce on hot pasta, it’s absolutely delicious on a variety of ingredients.

The next time you are looking for a a great way to use a jar of pesto, be sure to check out these recipes:

pesto pasta

Make things with simple ingredients because pesto has the best flavor already. But when all else fails, pasta al pesto made with your favorite pasta and a classic basil pesto recipe will hit the spot.

Pesto can be enjoyed room temperature, warmed up or chilled. You will need about 2/3 cups of pesto for every pound of pasta you make. Be sure to retain about a half a cup of the pasta water.

Homemade Basil Pesto

Recipe Notes:

How to Freeze Pesto 

We love to freeze pesto to enjoy in the winter months when there are no fresh herbs in sight. Your fresh pesto will last about 6 months in the freezer. We make a big batch at the end of every summer.
Spoon your pesto sauce in ice cube trays,
Freeze
Remove each pesto cube and place in a freezer bags. 
To use, dethaw your fresh basil pesto ice cubes. 
frozen pesto

What kind of Basil Should I Use to Make Pesto? 

While there are many different varieties of basil, any will do, except Thai Basil. Genovese Basil is one of our favorites use to make a classic pesto recipe.

Just be sure to pick over your leaves and remove any that are wilting or have spots. Wash your basil just before you use it in cold water and then dry the leaves well with paper towels. The key to making perfect pesto is using fresh, bright green basil leaves. A good pesto will be bright green.
washing basil

What is a good substitute for pine nuts in pesto? 

While a traditional pesto recipe calls for pine nuts, you can also try sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pistachios or pecans. Nut-free pesto will be a great recipe too.

Homemade Basil Pesto

Easy Homemade Basil Pesto Recipe

Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
You will never use store-bought pesto again after seeing how easy it is to make your own with just a handful of ingredients. This simple recipe for homemade basil pesto can be used on a variety of recipes such as pasta, chicken, side dishes and salads.This pesto recipe is a mixture of fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil. There are so many delicious flavors in pesto. The fresh herb flavor of the basil pairs just perfectly with the garlic and nutty flavor we add to make the sauce. This will become your family's favorite pesto recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ to 3 cups of basil leaves - fresh, washed, dried, packed
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup grated parmigiano reggiano or pecorino romano
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, if desired

Instructions

    1. Toast pine nuts by placing them on a microwave safe plate or small bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave again for another 30 seconds or until walnuts smell fragrant and are golden brown. Do not overcook.
    2. Allow pine nuts to cool slightly. You can also do this in a small frying pan on the stove top.
    3. Place basil, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese in the bowl of a food processor.
    4. Turn the food processor on and drizzle with a steady stream of additional olive oil as the mixture processes until the desired consistency is reached. 
    5. Transfer your pesto to a mason jar or air tight container. 
    6. Because fresh pesto will brown, drizzle a little olive oil on top of the pesto to prevent and stop the oxidation process. 
    7. Keep leftover pesto refrigerated.

Notes

Store your fresh pesto in the refrigerator in an airtight container for about a week.

You will need about 2/3 cups of pesto for every pound of pasta you make. Be sure to retain about a half a cup of the pasta water.

To freeze your pesto:

  • Spoon your pesto sauce in ice cube trays,
    • Freeze
    • Remove each pesto cube and place in a freezer bags. 
    • To use, dethaw your fresh basil pesto ice cubes. 

    While a traditional pesto recipe calls for pine nuts, you can also try sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pistachios or pecans. Nut-free pesto will be a great recipe too.

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