Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce

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Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce is the simplest of recipes, combining fresh basil with parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, fresh garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. This ultimate pesto sauce recipe should be a staple in your kitchen, as it is in mine! 

Overhead shot of homemade basil pesto sauce in a food processor.

My food processor has been getting a serious workout on the regular this summer, when basil is abundant and oh so delicious. I love to pick it up at a Farmer’s Market or occasionally find it in bulk at a local grocery store. We love all things pesto, and let me tell you about the smells of this super sauce. It’s sooooo unbelievably fragrant and hearty, especially due to the lovely basil leaves.

I’ve been kicking myself lately for not planting basil in pots on our deck. We have the space, and my hubby’s green thumb doesn’t hurt either. But there is always next summer, right?

Side shot of a basil plant in full bloom.

Ingredients needed for Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce:

  • Fresh Basil Leaves – If you are lucky enough to have your own basil plants, use that! My friend, Kerri, took the picture above for me. She has the most amazing garden beds!
  • Parmesan Cheese – Use any brand of grated parmesan.
  • Pine Nuts – These are pricy, but worth it.
  • Garlic – Fresh garlic cloves are best! Don’t use powder as a substitute.
  • Olive Oil – This is what makes it nice and creamy.
  • Salt and Pepper – Season according to taste.
Overhead shot of basil pesto sauce ingredients in a food processor.
A white bowl of homemade basil pesto sauce.

How to make Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce:

This sauce will only take a few minutes out of your day. You’ll be VERY happy you have it in your refrigerator for all your pesto needs.

  1. Prep the nuts. Toast the pine nuts on the stove top, until fragrant and slightly brown. Remove to cool slightly.
  2. Combine and process. Combine the fresh basil leaves, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and garlic cloves in a food processor. Pulse for several seconds until everything is ground up. Then remove the plunger on top, and drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube until the sauce is nice and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Store. Store pesto sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days.
  4. Use it in ALL the things! See below for some recipe ideas!
Side shot of homemade basil pesto sauce in a food processor.

FAQ

What can you substitute for Basil Pesto?

You can definitely substitute different greens for the basil and different nuts for the pine nuts. Try spinach, arugula, parsley, or kale – instead of basil leaves. And try walnuts, pecans, or almonds for the pine nuts. The taste will definitely be different but it’s fun to play around with different flavor combinations.

Is Basil Pesto healthy?

All of the ingredients in this basil pesto recipe have health benefits. The olive oil and pine nuts are higher in calories, however, but are a great source of healthy fats.

Can you freeze pesto sauce?

Most definitely yes – you can freeze pesto sauce. I occasionally make a double batch, and freeze portions so I have it on hand for various recipes.

Four small containers of homemade pesto sauce for the freezer.

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Pesto has been all the rage at our house over the past year. I’ve made this recipe SO many times. The following recipes use my homemade pesto sauce, and can be found on the blog via the links below.

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BLT Sandwich with Pesto Sauce – Just a classic recipe made better with pesto!

Side shot of a BLT Sandwich with Pesto Sauce, stacked on top of another sandwich.

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Pesto Vegetable Pasta – This is an old one and is packed full of healthy veggies.

Side angle of vegetable pesto pasta in a white bowl, tossed together with a fork twirling some out from above.

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Shrimp Pesto Rice Bowls – You can make the shrimp indoors on a grill pan for a time saver.

Overhead shot of Shrimp Pesto Rice Bowl on a gray napkin.

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Skillet Pesto Tomato Pizza – The “favorite pizza topping” recipe at our home.

Overhead shutoff a Pesto Tomato Pizza on a white and gray background.

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Cheesy Pesto Party Bread – It doesn’t get much better than bread, cheese, and pesto sauce!

Side shot of a hand pulling a piece of cheesy bread from a loaf of Cheesy Pesto Party Bread.

Make this sauce next: Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

Please let know if you try this recipe. Be sure to comment and leave a review on the blog so I can see what you think. You can also like my Facebook Page, follow me on Pinterest, and catch me on Instagram.

xoxo ~Sue

Overhead shot of homemade basil pesto sauce in a food processor.

Homeamde Basil Pesto Sauce

Sue Ringsdorf
Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce is the simplest of recipes, combining fresh basil with parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, fresh garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. This ultimate pesto sauce recipe should be a staple in your kitchen, as it is in mine! 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Sauce
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4 1/4 cup servings
Calories 373 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a food processor, combine the fresh basil, grated parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, and garlic. Pulse until well blended. Drizzle olive oil through feed tube while processor is running. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Storing – This pesto sauce stays fresh in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Freezing – You can freeze pesto sauce. I occasionally make a double batch, and freeze portions so I have it on hand for various recipes.
** You may need to add a bit more olive oil to the sauce (to loosen it up) after it is refrigerated or frozen.

Nutrition

Calories: 373kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 8gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 256mgPotassium: 116mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 777IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 210mgIron: 1mg
Keyword 5 ingredient, basil pesto sauce
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

3 Comments

  1. Anna | Yes, Little Hummingbird? says:

    I swear I can never get Pesto to come out right for me… I’ll have to give this one a shot. Thank you for writing about it!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Hi Anna! I hope you love it as much as we do. Please let me know! 🙂

  2. This is an incredible recipe and it is simple! Six ingredients and one step instructions. It does not get any better than that.

    Pro Tip – Be careful with cleaning the food processor….. sharp!……

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