An easy homemade pesto sauce recipe. Wonderful on pasta, and just as wonderful as a topping for grilled meats, grilled or baked fish, and vegetables.
I love the flavor of basil. One of my favorite appetizers is caprese salad, and the basil is a big part of why I’m so enamored with this fresh-tasting salad.
This homemade pesto sauce recipe is so delicious and fresh tasting. It’s one of my favorite condiments, and it’s also good for you. Whenever I see a bunch of fragrant, fresh basil leaves at the store, I just have to buy them and make this delicious sauce!
The ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty sauce. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need:
Fresh basil leaves. You’ll need about 1 cup of them, packed. Wash and dry them before using them.
Minced garlic. You can mince a garlic clove or use the stuff that comes in a jar.
Pine nuts. Just 2 tablespoons add lots of flavor and a great texture.
Kosher salt and black pepper. If using fine salt and not kosher salt, use about half the amount listed.
Extra-virgin olive oil. It’s OK to use regular olive oil, but the extra-virgin is tastier.
Grated parmesan cheese. Make sure you use finely grated cheese and not shredded cheese.
How to make homemade pesto sauce
It’s so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
1. Place the basil leaves, garlic and pine nuts in your food processor. Process just a few seconds, until coarsely chopped.
2. Add the salt, pepper and olive oil. Process until smooth and fully combined, about 30 seconds, stopping to scrape the sides with a spatula if needed.
3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and mix in the parmesan cheese. That’s it! The sauce is ready to serve. Although the flavors actually develop more after it’s had some time to rest.
Why bother with homemade when you can buy it at the store?
I decided to make this recipe after I looked for a jarred sauce in the supermarket, and discovered that inexplicably, all of them are made with soybean oil!
I’m not sure why, as the classic pesto is made with olive oil, which is so much tastier. Actually, of course I know why – to cut costs! Luckily, it’s very easy to make it at home. The food processor does all the work for you.
How to use it?
The obvious answer is pasta and pasta salad. That’s how I started making this recipe. My friends S. and J. taught me how to make an amazing pasta salad with homemade pesto sauce.
But this sauce is also great for low-carbers. It’s wonderful with chicken for example. This simple baked pesto chicken is wonderful.
This sauce is also great with seafood – check out this easy recipe for pesto shrimp. And it’s wonderful with vegetables! One of my favorite party appetizers is these very flavorful (and easy to make) pesto-stuffed mushrooms.
How long can you keep it?
You can keep it in the fridge, in an airtight container, for about 5 days. You can also freeze it for 3 months. It’s best to freeze it in ice cube trays or in small containers.
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Pesto Sauce Recipe
- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried (40 grams)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- Place the basil, garlic and pine nuts in food processor. Process a few seconds, until coarsely chopped.
- Add the salt, pepper and oil and process until smooth and fully combined, about 30 seconds, stopping to scrape the sides with a spatula if necessary.
- Transfer to a bowl and mix in the cheese.