Simple homemade basil pesto sauce! learn how to make the absolute best basil pesto that is easy and quick to make. This homemade pesto is delicious, versatile and packed full of flavor, and definitely better than storebought. Let me show you how to make it in easy steps.
Pesto is one of those sauces that everyone seems to love not only is it delicious but is also versatile too. It's fresh, vibrant, herby, and has a lovely balance of acidity and creaminess. And while it's super easy to buy jarred pesto at the store, making it at home is even easier and only takes a few minutes. And the taste? So much better than store-bought!
This homemade basil pesto recipe is my go-to pesto recipe. It's simple, fresh, and packed full of flavor. The key ingredients are basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. You'll also need a food processor or blender to make this fresh pesto recipe. The best part is that you can make a big batch at once, portion it into ice cube trays and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If you've never made pesto at home, don't be intimidated! It's really easy and only takes a few minutes. I'll walk you through the process step-by-step so you can see just how easy it is.
What is pesto sauce
Pesto is a sauce, originally from Italy, made with basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. It is vibrant green and smells amazing, typically used as a pasta sauce, but can also be used on pizza, in sandwiches, or as a dip. You can make so many variations of pesto sauce depending on your need but I particularly like the basil-based one.
Here are the main ingredients needed to make a classic pesto
Fresh basil leaves
Olive oil substitute with extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
How to make basil pesto sauce
To a food processor, add fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, and garlic, and pulse for a few seconds just until fully chopped. (scrape the sides of the food processor from time to time for a more consistent result)
Add olive oil, grated parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper and process until combined and emulsified. If the sauce is too thick, add a little bit of olive oil until the desired consistency is achieved.
Transfer the sauce into an airtight jar and place it in the fridge until needed.
How to use pesto
Apart from adding it to pasta sauce or gnocchi dishes, there are many creative ways to use pesto
Use leftover pesto to make salad dressing, pesto mayo, or pesto butter: these can be used as a sandwich or grilled cheese spread.
Add it to dips and sauces
- Substitute the basil for Thai basil
- Use other types of nuts
- You can reduce the amount of garlic used in this recipe or omit it completely if you prefer.
How to store
Pesto will last in the fridge for up to 1 week, make sure to store it in an airtight container. Alternatively, cover the bowl with a cling film, making sure to press the cling film onto the surface of the pesto to avoid oxidization. There is a likelihood that the pesto might change color to brown after a few days in the fine, check and be sure it is still fine before consuming.
You can freeze pesto in an ice cube tray if you want, it will stay for up to 1 month if you added parmesan cheese and up to 3 months without the cheese.
Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce
- Food Processor
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- ⅓ cup pinenuts
- 2 large garlic cloves
- ½ cup parmesan cheese grated
- ½ cup olive oil substitute with extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- To a food processor, add fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, and garlic, and pulse for a few seconds just until fully chopped. (scrape the sides of the food processor from time to time for a more consistent result)
- Add olive oil, grated parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper and process until combined and emulsified. If the sauce is too thick, add a little bit of olive oil until the desired consistency is achieved.
- Transfer the sauce into an airtight jar and place it in the fridge until needed.
Nutritional data: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients and brands you use. Under no circumstances will thedinnerbite.com be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information.
Can I make pesto without a food processor
Yes, you can make it even if you don't have a food processor. You can use a blender instead of a food processor, however, it will get a smoother consistency and a little runnier. Another alternative is the pestle and mortar, this is the traditional method however, it is not quick but it will guarantee a good (rustic) pesto consistency.
How can I make pesto without pinenuts
Pine nuts contain nuts and may not be an option if you have a nut allergy. there are great substitutes for pinenuts when making pesto, the most common ones are almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, and even pistachios.
Can I make pesto without cheese
Yes, you can! If you want to keep this recipe vegan just substitute the Parmesan for nutritional yeast flakes, vegan parmesan cheese or simply leave it out.
Will dried basil work for this recipe
Unfortunately, the answer is no, it just wouldn't taste the same, so try and get fresh basil for your pesto. If you don't have much fresh basil or you find the aromatic flavors powering then you can use a combination of basil and fresh spinach leave.
Can I add lemon juice
Yes, you can add lemon juice or lime juice to pesto if you wish, just add it according to taste.
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