One of the best things about the summer is all of the fresh basil and one of my favourite things to do with that basil is to make pesto! Basil pesto is as easy to make and pureeing basil, garlic, pine-nuts, parmesan, olive oil and lemon juice in a food processor so there’s really no excuse to not make your own in the summer! Once you have made your basil pesto it can be used on so many thing from pastas to sandwiches to soups, salads, etc (Take a look at the huge list of recipes to use your homemade fresh basil pesto in below the recipe!) Another great thing about basil pesto is that it freezes well so you can save the essence of summer for later.
Update 2015/08/21: Since I was making some pesto recently I decided to take the opportunity to update the photos!
The original photo:
A fresh, light and summery homemade basil pesto!
- 1 cup basil, packed
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano, grated
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place everything into a food processor and blend.
Pesto Grilled Shrimp
Caprese Stuffed Avocados
Creamy Parmesan Tomato and Spinach Tortellini Soup
Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Creamy Pesto Caprese Pasta Casserole
Roast Zucchini Salsa
Caprese Chicken Pesto Pasta
Pesto Zucchini and Corn Quinoa Salad
Asparagus, Baby Artichoke, Pesto and Goat Cheese Quiche with Quinoa Crust
Bruschetta Chicken Pesto Tart
Asparagus and Ramp Pesto Mac n Cheese
Asparagus and Pea Spinach Pesto Quinoa Salad
Grilled Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich with Halloumi
Slow Roasted Tomato BLT
Parmesan Crusted Pesto Tilapia with Roasted Tomatoes
Parmesan Crusted Pesto Tilapia Bruschetta
Roasted Tomato Soup
Pesto Grilled Shrimp Caprese Quesadillas
Diced Caprese Salad with a Pesto Dressing
Pesto Zucchini Fritters with Caprese Bruschetta Topping
Pesto Caprese Omelette
Creamy Pea and Artichoke Pesto Pasta Salad
Diced Caprese Salad
Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich with Pesto Mayo
Grilled Portobello and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich with Pistachio Pesto
Tomato and Basil Pesto Parmesan Tart
Asparagus and Zucchini Farro Salad
Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Roasted Tomatoes and Grilled Chicken
Basil Pesto on Penne
Caprese BLT Balsamic Roasted Portobello Mushrooms
Strawberry Caprese Stuffed Avocados with Pistachio Pesto
Hot Melted Caprese Dip
Pesto Grilled Chicken, Zucchini and Tomato Skewers
Cheesy Margherita Pizza Hummus with Pesto Pita Chips
Pesto Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwich
Asparagus Pesto and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwich
Basil and pine nuts are two of my favorite things. Mmmm….
The Girlie Blog says
I love basil too. I am either going to try this one or the tomatoes. Scared to roast pine nuts for the first time, but I'll live.
Do you think a lot would be lost from omitting the pine nuts?
Do you think there is a good alternative to pine nuts?
We use soy nuts or pepinos since we have SEVERE peanut/tree nut allergies in our family! Both work great!!!
Spent Saturday "harvesting the basil." 16 cups of basil for the winter!
Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) says
Could you use this as a sort of salad dressing? If I tossed it through some spinach leaves, tomato and bononcini cheese? Looks so fresh..
Daniel Bingham says
Yum. Basil pesto. I grew up on that. Every summer my mom and our neighbor would buy out the farmer's market of basil one morning and the two of them would spend all day making basil pesto. We would freeze it in eight ounce containers and eat it all winter. Her recipe was always very straight forward. Fill the bottom 1/3rd of the food processor with pine nuts. Pour in enough olive oil to cover them. Add a few cloves of garlic. Then fill it with basil and blend down. Fill it again and blend it again. Repeat that until it reaches the liquid line. Very basil heavy pesto – delicious! I've been seeing a lot of recipes that use smaller amounts of both pine nuts and basil though. And toasted pine nuts sounds brilliant. I'll have to try this recipe and see how it compares 🙂
Every summer, I stock my freezer with homemade basil pesto. This season I even took a leap and made a mint pesto.
Yours looks fabulous.
It was be pesto season and trying to clean our your basil from the garden. I just did a pesto the other day. Then i put it in my minestrone soup! It was fabulous!
Susie Bee on Maui says
So many pesto recipes to pick from! I recently made pesto with basil and walnuts; pulled it out of the freezer this week and smothered chicken with it for baking. Made a tender, tasty meal!
Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany): Basil pesto works great as a salad dressing. Just add a bit more lemon juice and you are good to go. It also works well with a bit of mayo as a dressing for a potato salad.
Paul: You could easily replace the pine nuts with another nut. I often enjoy changing things u a little by changing the nut and thus the flavour profile.
I was wondering if sunflower seeds would be a replacement to nuts altogether.
Paul: Using seeds in a pesto sounds good! I have not tried it yet but now I am going to have to now!
I'm also wondering, Kevin, why it is recommended to add the cheese later if you're planning to freeze your pesto. We frequently freeze our store-bought pesto (with cheese) when we know we won't eat it up by the expiration date, and it has always been fine once thawed. All summer, as I've made pesto and stuck the extra in the freezer, I have left the cheese in. But I've read online a couple of places lately to omit cheese if freezing and add it later. Any thoughts as to why?
Lynn: You certainly can freeze pesto with the cheese but I find that adding freshly grated after thawing just tastes better and you can get fresh cheese in the middle of winter. Having said that, I do sometimes freeze pesto with the cheese in it if I plan on using it in the near future as it is quicker that way. 🙂
Your pesto looks really tasty, I'll try the recipe… But I have to ask why are you putting in lemon juice? The original recipe doesn't have it. And you should also add pecorino (and parmigiano) cheese. Another tip: you don't have to grate the pine nuts, they taste better when fresh. This is the classic Pesto alla Genovese recipe 😀
By the way I really love your dishes, you're a great chef and have a plenty of good ideas!
An Italian follower
Maki: I like the bit of freshness that the splash of lemon adds, though it is completely optional. A bit of pecorino also works well in pesto. Thanks for the tips!
Catching up on my unread posts in google reader and I've got about one billllion of your recipes open.
I think your photography is great. Something I need to perfect – suppose I have to get a good camera first.
Anyway, it's coming on to summer in Australia and I can't wait to harvest my first batch of basil from the garden. First thing I'll try is this basil recipe.
Where do you get all your ideas & how often do you cook in your closet? (I'm sure I could read your about page, but I just don't have the time what with all the catching up on your recipes!)
Natalie: I cook almost every day and on the weekends it is particularly busy! I found that the most important thing for improving my photos was the lighting. I do not have good natural light so I needed a lamp.
Hi, I can't find a vegetarian 'parmigiano-reggiano'i don't think one exists :-/
is there anything i can substitute it with?
Sandra: I have not tried it but I have seen vegetarian parmesan online, using vegetable rennet instead of animal. (eg BelGioioso Cheese) Nutritional yeast would probably be easier to find and 1/4 cup ought to do as a replacement for the parmigiano-reggiano.
I made basil pesto once without cheese and found I prefer it that way, which is out of character for me as a cheese lover. Best thing about pesto is it is so versatile.
Pesto is a summer staple in our house. Love it!
Maggie Santiago says
Can you omit Pine Nuts? I ask because I'm allergic to all kinds of nuts.
Maggie Santiago: Yes, you can omit the pine nuts or replace them with other nuts or seeds like walnuts, etc.
I haven't had enough basil for pesto for the past few years so I bought some. It includes lemon juice and I love it so this recipe suits me. When I have pasta with pesto I usually have a steamed veg on the side, which I flavour with olive oil and lemon juice.
If I was substituting for pine nuts, especially due to price, I would use sesame or sunflower seeds. I have used macadamia nuts to good effect as they are also very creamy but only slightly less expensive. Walnuts are a common substitution but I have not tried them.
Gerry @Foodness Gracious says
So many amazing recipes come with basil pesto. This is fantastic Kevin!
Shawn @ I Wash You Dry says
This recipe suits me, now I just have to get my little plant to produce enough basil! A bigger herb garden is on my to do list.
I just made my first batch of Pesto….. I love it. I used Walnuts instead of Pinenuts. I put it on my salad; on my egg sandwich; eat it with Stacy's Naked Pita Chips. Sooo good. I'm going to try the Basil Grilled Shrimp. 🙂
Is the calorie count for 1 T.? Thank you!
plasterers bristol says
yummy, this recipe tasted perfect. Great recipe. Thanks for sharing.
Helen Kennedy says
I sometimes add the lemon rind, grated to the pesto. I'm glad someone else adds lemon juice!
can you mix in a blender if you don't have a food processor?
Linda: Yes you can use a blender! Enjoy!
Connie Hatch-Feir says
I've always wanted to make pesto. I love basil, I love pine nuts, I love garlic, but sadly, I cannot tolerate any of the "stinky" cheeses e.g. Parmesan, Romano, feta etc. Can I simply leave it out, or would that affect the texture? ) I have successfully omitted the cheese from risotto.) Thanks.
Connie: Yes you can omit the cheese! The flavour will be a little different but it will be amazing!
Try the Basil pesto with white rice. Just add about a spoonful to a cup of rice and mix (I tend to prefer the medium grain rice). Everyone who tastes this the first time thinks it’s a winning combination (and always asks for seconds).