Basil pesto is a great way to add flavor and freshness to any dish. It is quick and easy to make, and you can even freeze it for later use.
Pesto is incredibly versatile and an easy way to add big flavor to any recipe.
Here is Why You Will Love This Recipe:
- Fast and easy to make thanks to the food processor.
- Adds flavor to any dish
- Gluten free
- Freezable. Make it in advance and keep it in the freezer for quick meal prep.
- Basil leaves. Italian basil is traditional for pesto but you can use Thai basil for hints of spiciness or lemon basil for a bit of zing. We have even used purple basil for a fun color.
- Pine nuts. You can use raw pine nuts or toast them for a nutty, toasted flavor.
- Fresh Garlic. If you have extra large garlic cloves, use a bit less so it doesn’t overpower the pesto.
- Parmesan cheese. Purchase a block of cheese instead of the pre-grated stuff. It is so much better.
- Olive oil. We love this olive oil for pesto (affiliate link). It has a great flavor and it is affordable.
- Salt. Adjust the amount of salt to your liking. Parmesan is already a bit salty so you may not need all of the salt.
How to Make It In A Food Processor:
Here is a quick overview of the process for our basil pesto. Using a food processor is the best way to make a large batch. Scroll down to the printable recipe card and check out the tips below.
- Place everything but the olive oil and salt in a food processor. Pulse until combined.
- With the processor running, slowly drizzle the olive oil in until you have the consistency you like.
- Taste the pesto and add half of the salt. Taste it once more and add additional salt if needed.
Tips for Success:
- Prevent the pesto from turning brown. When you store the pesto, the surface can turn brown from oxidation. If you drizzle a glug of olive oil on the surface, it acts as a barrier to the air, and the pesto will stay green.
- Freeze in useable portion sizes. Use ice cube trays to portion the pesto into small cubes. You can also fill freezer bags and press the bags flat. Once frozen, you can break off thin chunks to use as needed.
- Choose good olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is key to good pesto. We love this olive oil (affiliate link), it gives the pesto a rich, authentic flavor, and it is affordable.
- Mince the garlic before you add it to the food processor. That way, you won’t risk having large chunks of garlic if it doesn’t get blended well.
Keep this sauce on hand for quick, easy weeknight meals by adding it to pasta or vegetables and using it as a marinade or sauce with chicken or fish. It makes an otherwise plain dinner pop with flavor.
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- 4 cups fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (140 grams)
- ¾ to 1 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- Combine basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, and cheese in a food processor and process with a blade attachment until well blended.
- With the food processor running, slowly drizzle the oil until you get the consistency you desire.
- Taste the pesto and add part or all of the salt according to taste.
Pesto freezes very well. Try freezing it in ice cube trays so you will have perfectly portioned amounts to add to vegetables, pasta, sandwiches and dips.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 90Total Fat: 9.5gSaturated Fat: 1.9gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 150mgCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 2.4g