This homemade pesto recipe is fast, easy, and can be used in so many different ways! Serve it on pasta, sandwiches, vegetables, or anything your heart desires.
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I’ve been wanting to share this recipe for homemade pesto with you for so long, but it disappears every time I make it. This was the first time I was able to snap a picture of it before it fulfilled its destiny on pastas, pizzas, sandwiches, and maybe a few thieving fingers.
Homemade pesto is so good you could eat it with a spoon (and we have). I like mine thick and a little cheese heavy (thanks, Wisconsin).
The proportions aren’t as important as the quality of ingredients. I’m thrilled to have some basil plants growing outside my door again, which makes for the most fragrant pesto possible.
- Parmesan cheese
- Romano Cheese
- Pine nuts
- Kosher salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
How to make basil pesto
- In a food processor, combine basil, parmesan, romano, pine nuts, and salt to taste.
- With the motor running, stream in olive oil until smooth. If you prefer a thinner pesto, add additional olive oil a little bit at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
What is pesto?
Originally from Genoa, Italy, pesto traces its name to the Italian word “pestare,” which means “to crush.” It is traditionally prepared with a mortar and pestle, but I like to use my food processor to keep it easy.
How to use homemade pesto
- As a sauce for pasta
- Mix into a pasta salad
- Make pesto tofu
- Swirl spoonfuls of pesto into pasta bakes such as lasagna or penne
- Spread on a sandwich or grilled cheese
- Mix into scrambled eggs
- Use in place of pizza sauce on your favorite pizza (or egg pizza!)
- Thin it out with extra oil and use as a dressing for salads
How to store homemade basil pesto
Homemade pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Tips for customizing basil pesto
- Swap the herbs for arugula, kale, or spinach
- Use half oil, half water to cut down on fat
- To make it vegan, leave out the cheese and add nutritional yeast a little at a time to taste
Pesto, like most foods, can be healthy in moderation. It is higher in calories than some sauces but it’s also made with natural ingredients, like basil, olive oil and nuts.
Yes! This pesto freezes beautifully in small, individual portions. I usually spoon about ½ – 1 cup into a little container and just throw it right in the freezer. Allow it to sit in the refrigerator overnight to thaw or pop it in the microwave for thirty seconds or so.
In short, no. You need fresh basil leaves to make pesto. When buying fresh basil, look for vibrant green leaves with no spots or wilting.
More pesto recipes
- Homemade Pesto
- Walnut Arugula Pesto
- Spinach Pesto
- Butternut Squash and Sage Pesto
- Pistachio Pesto
- Pesto Tofu with Balsamic Vegetables
- Pesto Linguine with Crispy Balsamic Chickpeas
- Burrata with Tomatoes, Pesto, and Toast
- Oven Roasted Tomato and Pesto Panini
- Pesto Tortellini Salad
If you make this recipe, be sure to rate it, leave a comment, or tag #theliveinkitchen on Instagram!
- 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup freshly grated Romano Cheese
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- Coarse kosher salt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine basil, Parmesan, Romano, pine nuts, and salt to taste.
- With the motor running, stream in olive oil until smooth. If you prefer a thinner pesto, add additional olive oil a little bit at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Serve on pasta, sandwiches, vegetables, or anything your heart desires.