Here is how I make classic basil pesto at home. It’s incredibly simple and flavorful, while only using a handful of fresh ingredients.
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves*
- 1/3 cup pine nuts*
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 3 cloves garlic (roasted or fresh)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (optional but recommended)
- 1/2 teaspoon each salt and fresh ground pepper
- Blend the basil, pine nuts, cheese, and garlic together in a food processor or blender. Pour oil in slowly while still mixing (or a little at a time, then mix, then more oil, then mix again, etc). Scrape down the sides, then add lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse until everything is blended together and relatively smooth. Taste and add more salt/pepper if desired.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Store leftover pesto in a jar, tightly seal, and refrigerate for up to a week. Freeze the pesto for up to 2-3 months. You can freeze it in greased ice cube trays and thaw small portions at a time.
- Other Greens: Instead of basil, try other greens like spinach, kale, or arugula.
- Nuts: Instead of pine nuts, I love using walnuts. You can also try pecans, pistachios, or almonds. For a nut-free pesto, try edamame, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, or sunflower seeds.
- Other Pesto Variations: Try adding your favorite herbs like cilantro, mint, or parsley. Add your favorite spices like cayenne, ground ginger, or paprika. Or add a dash of your favorite hot sauce.
Keywords: homemade basil pesto, how to make basil pesto