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Basil Pesto

While there are so many basil pesto recipes out there, I still wanted to share my favourite recipe with you. I make this recipe at least 2-3 times every Summer when basil is at it’s best. It is full of basil flavour and I just love the combination of basil, pine-nuts, parmesan cheese and garlic – heady and delicious! This screams Summer to me.

Another side close up of the bowl of Basil Pesto. A mini grater is in the background with pine-nuts and basil leaves scattered around the bowl.
Basil Pesto

Today I am sharing my favourite Basil Pesto recipe. I find home-made pesto to be so much better than store-bought. There really is no comparison in my eyes. If you are a fan of pesto, and have never made it yourself, you simply must. A food processor makes it a cinch to make and the freshness and taste is far superior.

Pesto is traditionally made using a Mortar and Pestle, however a food processor makes this recipe very quick and easy.

I make batches of this pesto every Summer when basil is in abundance. It freezes really well too so I always make a batch at the end of the season as that way I can use it in the following months.

The pesto is in a small ceramic bowl with the mini food processor bowl in the background. Pine-nuts and basil leaves are scattered around the bowl.
Home-made pesto is so fresh and vibrant compared to store-bought.

Ingredients to make this recipe

  • basil leaves – this recipe uses 2 packed cups of freshly picked leaves. I find anywhere between 100g and 120g in weight to be sufficient. Wash and dry the leaves well. Wash them in cold water to remove any grit then place in a tea towel and pat dry.
  • garlic cloves – I do like a garlicky pesto. If you prefer a milder flavour, then reduce to 2 cloves of garlic. Always crush the garlic first before adding to the food processor. That way the garlic is distributed throughout the pesto and you won’t bite into a large chunk of garlic.
  • sea salt
  • olive oil – use a good quality extra-virgin olive oil that you like the taste of. I use a fruity variety.
  • pine nuts – I always use pine nuts in basil pesto. Some recipes use toasted pine nuts but I actually prefer to use them fresh without toasting. If you are not a fan of pine nuts, then you can substitute with walnuts, almonds or even pumpkin seeds (a nut-free alternative).
  • parmesan or pecorino cheese – use freshly grated if you can, or a good quality ‘grated’ parmesan. If the parmesan is finely grated, I stir it through the pesto at the end instead of processing it. To make a vegan pesto, you can substitute the parmesan cheese with vegan cheese or nutritional yeast.
All the ingredients required to make the Basil Pesto are on a chopping board. In the centre is a large bowl of picked basil leaves with salt, parmesan, olive oil, pine-nuts and garlic around it.
Basil Pesto uses only 6 ingredients and is very easy to make.

Tips to making this Basil Pesto

  • Wash and dry the leaves well in cold water. Remove as much moisture from the leaves as you can without bruising them (I pat them dry with a tea towel). Some recipes suggest blanching the leaves first to preserve the green colour, however I have never done this and have found my pesto to have a beautiful vibrant green colour.
  • Always crush the garlic cloves first before adding them to the food processor. That way they are distributed evenly and you won’t bite into a big chunk.
  • When storing the basil pesto, add a thin layer of olive oil over the top to cover, before sealing the jar or container. This prevents the top from browning. Store pesto for up to a week in the fridge or freeze for up to 3 months.

Serving Suggestions

  • toss through pasta
  • toss through zucchini noodles – a combination we like is chopped baby tomatoes, crumbled feta and pesto with zucchini noodles
  • use in sandwiches or toasted sandwiches
  • serve on top of crostini with tomato or even cooked prawns (add a dollop of mayo to the pesto)!
  • instead of garlic bread, make pesto bread
  • add to raw scone mix or bread dough
  • add to rice or pasta salads
  • use as a pizza topping
  • serve a dollop with eggs, frittatas or quiche
A close up of the bowl of Basil Pesto.
Basil Pesto
A close-up of the bowl of Basil Pesto with a mini cheese grater in the background.

Basil Pesto

While there are so many basil pesto recipes out there, I still wanted to share my favourite recipe with you. I make this recipe at least 2-3 times every Summer when basil is at it's best. It is full of basil flavour and I just love the combination of basil, pine-nuts, parmesan cheese and garlic – heady and delicious! This screams Summer to me.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: basil, basil pesto, easy basil pesto, pesto
Author: Katrina | Katy’s Food Finds

Equipment

  • food processor or mini food processor

Ingredients

  • 2 c basil leaves (between 100g and 120g in weight) washed and dried
  • 3 large garlic cloves or 4 medium peeled and crushed
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 c olive oil extra virgin
  • 3/4 c pine nuts
  • 80 g parmesan cheese or pecorino grated
  • sea salt, extra for seasoning

Instructions

  • Add the basil leaves and crushed garlic to the bowl of a food processor. Scatter over salt and add 1/4 c of the olive oil. Process until combined.
    Scrape down the sides, add the pine nuts and another 1/4 c of olive oil. Process briefly so the pine nuts are still chunky.
    Drizzle the last 1/4 c of olive oil through the feed tube and process until just combined. Add the cheese and pulse a couple of times or if the cheese is finely grated, you can just stir it through.
    Season to taste with extra salt if required.
    If you prefer a smoother pesto, then process longer.
    Store pesto in the fridge in a jar or container, with a thin layer of oil over the top of the pesto to prevent it from browning. Seal the container. Lasts for up to a week in the fridge or freeze in a container for up to 3 months.
Have you cooked one of my recipes? I’d love you to tag me @katysfoodfinds or #katysfoodfinds!

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