Recipe

Classic Homemade Basil Pesto

Servings:
4
(1 cup)
Total Time:
0
hr
8
min
Jump to RecipeA bright green basil pesto in a bowl.

Pesto is a simple sauce that can be used in so many different ways. There are a lot of types of pesto you can make from sun-dried tomato pesto to kale pesto. For this recipe, it is just the classic basil, pine nut, and parmesan pesto. This pesto is the base of many other recipes and a great one to have in your back pocket.

How to Use Pesto?

You can add pesto to your favorite pasta or gnocchi for a quick weeknight dinner. You can also use pesto as a sauce for your roasted vegetables or even on a sandwich. Here are a few of my favorite pesto recipes.

Basil pesto mushroom pizza.
Basil Pesto Mushroom Pizza

Do I need to use pine nuts?

Many pesto recipes, including this one, ask for pine nuts in the recipe. Pine nuts are a deliciously soft and creamy nut that blends well into the sauce. The only downside is they are slightly harder to find and can be more expensive.

If you can’t find pine nuts you can use other nuts or seeds like pistachios, cashews, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds. Here is a comparison between different pesto nuts if you want an alternative.

Small bowl filled with basil pesto.

How to Store Pesto

If you are using your pesto within the week you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge until you are ready to use it. If you need to store it longer than a week, you can store it in an airtight container in the freezer.

To freeze my pesto I place it in a small 8oz mason jar, label the top with the date, and place it in the freezer. When I am ready to use it I let it defrost slightly in the fridge or on the counter. If you need to defrost quickly you can also place it in a bowl with warm water or run it in the microwave fro a few seconds.

Frozen pesto should last up to 6 months. I try to use mine within the first 3 months for the best flavor.

Tips for Making the Best Pesto

  • Choose the best basil. Depending on the time of year, finding good basil can be tricky. During summer I love to use my own grown basil or some you can find at the farmers market. If you don’t have access to this you can find basil at most grocery stores. Just make sure to look in the packaging to get the basil with the least amount of brown spots. Once basil starts to go bad it will wilt very quickly. Also, remember to store your basil at room temperature. They don’t like the cold of the fridge.
  • Taste and adjust. When making pesto, you want to taste and adjust the flavor to your liking. You might want to add more salt or lemon juice. If it is really thick try blending it for longer or adding in extra olive oil.
  • Make a double batch. This recipe makes a little over 1 cup of pesto. If I have enough ingredients, I like to double it up and freeze one. If you are already dirtying the food processor it’s nice to make extra so I have some for a later meal.

Classic Homemade Basil Pesto

5 stars4 stars
(
1
)
Servings:
4
(1 cup)
Prep Time:
8
min
Cook Time:
0
hr
0
min
Total Time:
0
hr
8
min

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (50g) fresh basil, packed
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a food processor.
  2. Blend for 20-30 seconds then scrape down the sides so everything gets incorporated.
  3. Blend for another 20-30 seconds. Taste and adjust as needed (add more salt or parmesan if it needs more flavor, add more oil if it’s too thick, add more lemon if it needs brightness).
  4. Enjoy right away or store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or the freezer for up to 6 months.

Notes

Products Used

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