Homemade Basil Pesto is the best and easiest way to use up your bounty of fresh basil. Use it for pasta, pizza, burgers, and more. Ready in 15 minutes!
Basil is probably one of my all-time favorite herbs, right alongside cilantro.
A long time ago when I lived in an apartment with a yard, I grew my own basil plant along with tomatoes and jalapenos.
It was so nice to grab a few leaves for that day’s dinner to add a little extra flavor.
Now I buy my basil from either the farmer’s market or the grocery store.
The problem is any time I buy basil for a few leaves, the rest of it tends to sit around and…die. Whoops.
Rather than waste food, I tend to make Homemade Basil Pesto so at least it prolongs the fresh basil another week.
You can also eat it as a tasty snack with my Pesto Dip.
All you need are 6 ingredients, 1 food processor, and 15 minutes.
What is pesto?
Pesto is an Italian sauce made of fresh basil leaves, grated cheese, garlic, nuts, and olive oil blended together in a food processor.
Ingredients For Basil Pesto
Ready to make fresh basil pesto? Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- Basil: Nothing beats fresh basil leaves, especially from the farmer’s market! However, you can easily substitute another herb such as cilantro or parsley.
- Pine nuts: Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pine cones.
- Parmesan cheese: Adds a bit of saltiness.
- Olive oil: Use a high-quality extra virgin olive oil.
- Garlic: Everything is better with garlic.
- Salt: Without salt, your pesto would taste really bitter. Use a coarse salt such as kosher or sea salt.
Can you make basil pesto with walnuts?
Because pine nuts are pricey due to the way they’re harvested, you can easily substitute walnuts for the pine nuts and make basil walnut pesto.
How To Make Homemade Pesto With Fresh Basil
Making homemade basil pesto with pine nuts is super easy! Add all of your ingredients to your food processor, chop, scrape down the bowl, then taste and adjust as necessary.
I find you do need to add a few sprinkles of salt, but that would depend on your taste and how salty your cheese and nuts are.
Because this is a small batch pesto, it’s much easier to use a small 1.5 cup food processor because the blade will chop everything.
If you make your pesto for two in a regular-sized food processor, sometimes the blade won’t reach everything as there would be too much space.
You can also make your small batch basil pesto in a blender, although sometimes if you blend it too much, it may add extra air to it.
How To Store Homemade Basil Pesto
To store your homemade basil pesto, refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to 1 week. I personally like to use a tiny mason jar because of the oil.
The oil will solidify in the fridge, so let it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes then stir.
What To Do With Pesto
Besides eating it by the spoonful, what can you make with your homemade pesto? Here are recipes using basil pesto:
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- In a small 1.5 cup food processor, add the basil, cheese, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, and salt. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust as necessary.
- Transfer to an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week. The oil will solidify in the fridge, so let it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes then stir.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.