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!
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?
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.
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.
- Prep the nuts. Toast the pine nuts on the stove top, until fragrant and slightly brown. Remove to cool slightly.
- 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.
- Store. Store pesto sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days.
- Use it in ALL the things! See below for some recipe ideas!
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.
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.
BLT Sandwich with Pesto Sauce – Just a classic recipe made better with pesto!
Pesto Vegetable Pasta – This is an old one and is packed full of healthy veggies.
Shrimp Pesto Rice Bowls – You can make the shrimp indoors on a grill pan for a time saver.
Skillet Pesto Tomato Pizza – The “favorite pizza topping” recipe at our home.
Cheesy Pesto Party Bread – It doesn’t get much better than bread, cheese, and pesto sauce!
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.
Homeamde Basil Pesto Sauce
- 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
- 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.