Making homemade basil pesto couldn’t be any easier! Fresh basil, garlic, lemon zest, toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese blended with olive oil for a creamy delicious sauce. Recipe yields about 2 cups or 16 (2 tablespoon) servings
This year my basil plant(s) are huge.
Besides me picking from all three of them all summer long, they’re the home to little green frogs. And big, fat bumblebees are always on them scooping out pollen. But I especially love when on windy or stormy days, the smell of fresh basil wafts through our front door.
Basil is my spirit herb.
The main reason I plant basil in my garden is to make pesto. It’s so simple and can add a fresh burst of herbaceous deliciousness to sauces, dressings or dips. You can even make a double batch and freeze some for throughout the year.
To Make This Homemade Basil Pesto You Will Need:
- fresh basil leaves – You will need a lot. Like a lot.
- pine nuts – Adds a subtle warm nutty flavor, especially when toasted.
- parmesan cheese – Lends a fruity, nutty and slightly salty flavor.
- garlic – For distinct punchy flavor.
- lemon zest and juice – Adds citrus notes and brightens the flavors of the pest.
- kosher salt – Enhances the flavors in the pesto.
- freshly ground black pepper – Adds some subtle bite and flavor.
- olive oil – Lends richness and flavor.
Place 2 cups firmly packed basil leaves into your salad spinner.
Rinse thoroughly and spin dry. I do this step a few times in a row. Set this off to the side for a moment.
Add 1/2 cup pine nuts to a small skillet. Heat on medium to medium-low, shaking the pan occasionally until the nuts are fragrant and golden. Allow them to cool before adding them to the food processor.
In the bowl of your food processor, fitted with the blade attachment, add in 2 cups firmly packed fresh basil, toasted pine nuts, the zest and juice from a small lemon, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 2 small garlic cloves and kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
Add in 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, secure the lid turn on your food processor.
Pulse, check, scrape down the sides as you go.
Stop once the basil pesto is smooth.
Recipes That Call For Basil Pesto:
- Tortellini Pasta Salad
- Grilled Turkey Pesto Sandwich
- Air Fryer Pasta Chips with Pesto Dip
- Pesto Pasta Salad
- Pesto Fried Eggs
- Pesto Chicken Ravioli Lasagna
- One Pan Chicken Pesto Pasta
How To Store Homemade Basil Pesto:
Store basil pesto in a jar or container with a tight fitting lid. If store properly, homemade pesto can last up to 5 to 6 days.
How To Freeze Homemade Basil Pesto:
Fill an ice cube tray with 2 to 4 tablespoons of pesto, cover and freeze up to 6 months or longer. This way you’ll have homemade basil pesto at your fingertips to thaw and add to sauces or dressings.
Homemade Basil Pesto
- 2 cups basil leaves, rinsed and patted or spun dry
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 small lemon, zest and juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, or up to 3/4 cup- as needed
- Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan for 5-6 minutes over medium heat until lightly golden in color and fragrant. Remove to cool.
- In the bowl of your food processor add the basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, both the zest and juice from one lemon, salt, pepper and olive oil.
- Secure the lid to your food processor and blend until smooth.
- Divide the pesto into each ice cube slot. Cover and freeze for 2-3 hours or over night.
- Pop the basil pesto cubes out and place into a freezer-safe re-sealable bag. Store frozen for up to three months.
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