Super Easy Homemade Basil Pesto

by zesty on March 10, 2009 · 32 comments

Homemade Basil Pesto

Happy Tuesday!  I am somewhat excited as I get to share with you a super simple homemade Pesto recipe that you have to try!  Usually I find myself focusing on one or two foods that I find in the grocery store that either happen to look great or on sale.  I then try to wrap my brain around ways to use those ingredients to make 2 or 3 dishes until the ingredient is gone.

Just last night I found some great looking basil which is a perfect excuse to use my Cusinart Food Processor.  I am a big fan, as you may already know, of using all the food in the fridge and trying to minimize waste as much as possible.  Although, I have been known to toss some spoiled food out at times but it really “ROTS” me.


I have been meaning to share this versatile basil pesto recipe with you for some time now.  As you may know, my favorite herb is “BASIL” – I absolutely love it.  This basil pesto is  a treat whether you use it as a sandwich spread, pizza sauce, on top of  pasta or even smear it on your favorite meat, chicken or fish.  You will be pleasantly surprised with the flavor it packs.

The recipe below assumes you have a food processor.


  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese ( cut into 1/2 inch pieces )
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


  1. With the machine running, drop the cheese down the feed tube and chop about 10 seconds.  Remove and reserve.
  2. basil_pesto_toasted_nuts




  3. Chop Garlic, then add basil and pulse about 20 times ( Scrape down sides).
  4. basil_pesto_chopped_garlic


  5. With the machine running, drizzle Olive Oil down the tube and process until mixed. (Scrape down Sides)
  6. Add pine nuts, reserved cheese and salt and pulse until nuts are chopped.
  7. Let sit and store in a jar
  8. basil_pesto_final

  9. ENJOY!

Zesty Tip: I know for me it is sometimes hard to get fresh basil this time of year so when I find a really great crop I tend to buy a lot of it and freeze it. You can see a great set of instructions over at Kayln’s kitchen with more details on how to do this.

I look forward to sharing with you in the near future a few different ways I like to use basil pesto. Stay tuned and by all means you know I want to hear about your favorite ways to use basil pesto.  Have a great day and keep smiling.

Take care


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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 VeggieGirl

I ADORE basil pesto!


2 Tracy

This has me anxious for herb garden and to make some fresh homemade pesto.


3 Nancy

Love Basil Pesto! Once you have it made, you can freeze it in small icecube portion sizes, and then thaw just the amount you need. Toss an ‘icecube’ in your next batch of spaghetti sauce! I also like to take a bit of the basil pesto and mix it with mayonnaise, and use that as a spread on a chicken and lettuce sandwich. It’s quite flavorful!


4 ZestyCook

@Nancy – That is an excellent idea. I love using it as a sandwich spread as well


5 Sarah

I have the same food processor that I adore as well. I need to start making my own pesto instead of relying on store bought. It is so yummy. My husband uses it as a sandwich spread. YUM! Now you have me craving it!


6 jenny t.

Hi Zesty,

In case anyone is allergic to pine nuts I experimented with some basil pesto that uses pumpkin seeds instead. I love how super green your pesto is!


7 ZestyCook

@Jenny T. – Great idea with switching to pumpkin seed


8 Mara @ What's For Dinner?

I love pesto, and my Cuisinart! I usually use the Cuisinart for grating potatoes for potato latkes around Hanukkah, but I really need to break it out again!


9 carolinebee

i kept re-reading your recipe going, “where’s the spinach”?? haha ooooo it’s BASIL pesto :D!!! That sounds amazing…congrats on the cookbook i’m gonna check it out tonight!! AND once i figure out a recipe someday i’m gonna contribute :D


10 Meg

Looks delicious! This would be great at a St. Patrick’s Day party!


11 Simone (junglefrog)

I love basil as well. Definitely one of my favorite herbs. It makes me happy just smelling fresh basil. Great recipe too for fresh pesto. I totally love it on traditional mozarella, tomato and pesto sandwich, but it’s good in sooo many things. Good tip also from Nancy above to put it in icecubes… I always make too much!


12 Olga

YUM! Love fresh pesto. I made gnocchi once and served it with pesto. It’s also great to mix into a hummus, to spread on a sandwich, to add to mashed potatoes, or mix into a pasta.


13 Bob

Mmmmm, pesto. Great recipe.


14 Amy

I love pesto. When I find it beautiful basil at the farmers market, I buy bunches and make a ton of pesto. But usually word leaks out that I made it and instead of freezing it, I end up giving it away. I love to make a tomato tart or quiche and spoon pesto into the bottom of the crust. :)


15 ZestyCook

@Amy That sounds amazing! Yeah I don’t think there would be fear of you having to freeze that


16 Culinary Cory

Pesto is a perfect way to use up all that basil I grow in the summer. It freezes really well also.


17 Donna

OMG look at the color, its gorgeous! I love it. It sounds o delicious, I’m trying it as soon as my basil grows. Thank you. Im off to check out your ecookbook now.


18 Heather McD (Heather Eats Almond Butter)

Thanks for the basil freezing tip as I mine often goes bad before I can use it all. Pesto is my favorite topping on pizza – so much better than plain old pizza sauce!


19 Victoria

I absolutely adore pesto. It is also my favorite sauce for pizza.


20 Al

Hey Zesty- have you ever tried chimichurri? Or, better yet, do you have a great recipe?


21 Aggie

Good looking pesto! Love it!


22 leslie

perfect Pesto!


23 Cynthia H

I love pesto – especially when the basil is fresh from the garden. The cost of pine nuts can be prohibitive though and I’ve experimented with using walnuts instead. Walnuts and spinach also make an excellent pesto.

A great tasting sandwich using pesto – Turkey, pesto and dried cranberries!


24 Lisa D

THAT IS THE BEST LOOKING PESTO I”VE EVER SEEN! sorry for all the caps but I’m super enthusiastic about it! I’m sad now because it’s lunch time and ALL I want to eat is your pesto but clearly I don’t have it. Tear.


25 Emily

Oooh! I really want to try this! :-)


26 Anna

best pesto I’ve made……and I have made a lot of pesto!


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