Basil Pesto

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Store-bought pesto is always so boring and dull, nothing like a homemade fresh basil leaf pesto. Why not make your own, so you can play around with the ingredient amounts to perfect your pesto to your liking?

For a healthy start to the day use your basil pesto to make Pesto Tomato, Egg & Avocado Breakfast Salad! Or enjoy this Traditional Caprese Salad!

basil pesto in a large white bowl

Basil Pesto

Some fresh, homemade basil pesto is one of those things that everyone needs to have at least once in their lives.

Despite how simple it is to make, basil pesto is usually only reserved for ordering in restaurants, or buying in those tiny little pots from the supermarkets.

However, as long as you don’t mind your kitchen smelling like cheese and herbs for the next few days, there is nothing stopping you from blitzing up your very own pesto, perfect for spreading on bread or mixing into some pasta.

basil pesto ingredients in small wgite bowls and plates

Pine Nuts Vs. Walnuts Which One Should You Choose?

Basil pesto needs something crunchy and savory to make its unique flavor profile complete, and there are two main ways to achieve this: pine nuts or walnuts.

The choice of which one to use is totally up to you, as each provides its own unique flavor to your pesto.

For walnuts, they add a much stronger nutty flavor, making everything have their strangely crunchy and earthy nuttiness.

Pine nuts, however, have more of a clean, pine-forward flavor, and taste almost fresh and slightly herbal.

Choose whichever one you prefer, though keep in mind that nut allergies are surprisingly common, and most nut allergy sufferers are not allergic to pine nuts, so you might want to ask any guests that will eat this for their dietary preferences just in case.

basil pesto in the food processor before blending.

Could You Make A Bigger Batch And Freeze Your Basil Pesto?

This recipe makes a pretty small batch of pesto, and you can expect it to last no more than about 4 days in the fridge.

However, there is nothing stopping you from making an even bigger batch and storing it in the freezer for later use.

While you could actually try and can your basil pesto for storage, most people probably aren’t going to want to go the route of dealing with an expensive canning machine.

Instead, to prepare your basil pesto for freezing, get it inside of a resealable, freezer-safe container, and make sure that it is filled all of the way to the top.

You want to try and minimize any air contact to your pesto, as the air will cause the pesto to lose both flavor and color.

A single sheet of plastic wrap pressed firmly onto the surface of the pesto will also help stop it from losing quality over time.

Once frozen, you can expect your basil pesto to stay taste for up to around 3 months, though it can last longer with a gradual decline in quality over time.

basil pesto on a large wooden spoon

How To Create A Simple Pasta Dish Using Your Basil Pesto

While your simple basil pesto would be perfect spread over some crackers or a slice of toast, you could also mix it with some pasta to make a really simple, fresh-tasting pasta dish, perfect for a lunch or light dinner.

To make the best ratio of basil pesto pasta, combine about ½ cup of your basil pesto to around 6 ounces of pasta.

This will make a saucy, yet not liquid pasta, perfect for eating with a fork.

Feel free to add a bit more pesto for a stronger flavor, and if you want it more liquidy, add a little bit of the starchy pasta cooking water to help thin it out!

basil pesto in a jar with a wooden spoon in it

Other Ways To Use Your Basil Pesto

While spread on some crackers or used to make some pasta are the most obvious ways to use your pesto, there are plenty of other great recipes you could make with your pesto as well.

  • As a Sauce On Chicken

Cook a chicken breast or chicken thigh and spread some pesto on it after serving to make a fresh, simple, and herbaceous topping for your chicken!

  • As a Salad Dressing

Just like as a topping for some bread, this pesto goes great with salad leaves, making a really intense, bright, and almost fruity salad out of just a few simple ingredients.

  • Over Vegetables

Similar to dressing a salad or a chicken breast, your basil pesto makes for a really great topping for a vegetable side. Roast some carrots, parsnips, and onions, and then pour over just a bit of this pesto as it comes out of the oven for a big hit of healthy flavor.

Looking for more delicious Italian-themed Sauce recipes? Try these out:

Marinara Sauce

Homemade Meat Sauce

Classic Italian Gremolata Recipe (3 Ingredient Parsley Sauce)

Happy Cooking



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Some fresh, homemade basil pesto is one of those things that is easy to make by throwing all ingredients in a food processor.
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Basil Pesto

How to make fresh basil leaf pesto. Play around with the ingredient amounts to perfect your pesto to your liking!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time
10 minutes
1 cup
food processor
Karlynn Johnston


  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves firmly packed, no stems
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese Romano can also be used
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt to taste if needed


  • Place the basil, parsley, cheese, pine nuts, and garlic into a food processor or blender. Cover and process until a paste forms.
  • With the machine on low, gradually add the olive oil until soft paste forms. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  • Refrigerate in a lidded container for up to 4 days.

Recipe Notes

  • This is a smaller batch pesto as it only lasts 4 days in the fridge.
  • For pasta, use about 1/2 cup pesto tossed with 6 ounces pasta

Nutrition Information

Calories: 1097kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 109g, Saturated Fat: 19g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 20g, Monounsaturated Fat: 62g, Cholesterol: 44mg, Sodium: 888mg, Potassium: 508mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 3605IU, Vitamin C: 29mg, Calcium: 543mg, Iron: 5mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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