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A white bowl with pesto and spoon
5 from 5 votes

Homemade Basil Pesto

Make a great tasting and bright in color pesto sauce using my recipe. Make it smooth or chunky, with nuts or nut-free. It's your call!
Author Diana
Servings 8 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves just the leaves, no stems
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil


  • In a dry pan over low-medium heat (no oil), lightly toast the pine nuts or any other nuts you're using. Remove from heat, allow to cool.
  • Place all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Blend until completely broken down, scrape off the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the olive oil gradually with the food processor running until you get a slightly emulsified sauce. Thin out with extra oil or water if needed.


  • I use table salt to make the pesto. If you're using kosher salt, you will need to add around 1 teaspoon. Start with ½ teaspoon, taste the pesto, and add more if needed.
  • Use fresh basil leaves without the stems to make the pesto.
  • Substitute the basil with kale, wild rocket/arugula, spinach, parsley and cilantro, dill, mint, wild nettle, and wild garlic.
  • Substitute the pine nuts with walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecan, macadamia, pistachios, almonds, brazil nuts, or even peanuts.
  • For a vegan pesto, substitute ½ cup of parmesan with ¼ cup nutritional yeast.
  • For a nut-free version, substitute the nuts with sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
  • Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. A thin layer of olive oil can prevent the pesto from oxidizing and turning brown. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Yield - This recipe makes about 1 cup of pesto, we divided it into 8 portions.
  • Nutrition values are calculated per 1 portion of pesto ( a cup)


Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 49mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 365IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 1mg