Incredibly fresh, our homemade basil pesto is a joy to eat, it’s got lots of extra virgin olive oil, and a little lemon juice and has a nutty, cheesy, basil flavor that is better than any jar of store-bought sauce. We love making fresh pesto, it’s seriously tasty and so quick to make, we like to make batches and store them in the freezer for whenever we need a quick tasty sauce.
Why you’ll love our pesto recipe
Our homemade basil pesto recipe is just begging to be doubled up, one portion for now and one for the freezer, you’ll never run out again.
What does pesto taste like?
Pesto has a delicious nutty, cheesy, herby flavor to it.
The nutty flavor comes from the pine nuts and blanched almonds that we use.
The cheesy flavor is thanks to vegetarian Parmesan cheese.
We use basil to give our pesto that tasty herby flavor.
Garlic and lemon also are part of our pesto, helping to give a wonderful fresh taste to it.
Is pesto vegetarian?
Not all pesto is vegetarian because not all Parmesan cheese is vegetarian.
We have created a vegetarian pesto recipe that everyone can eat in confidence.
The great thing is, that nobody could tell the difference!
Do you wash basil leaves before making pesto?
Yes, it’s important to wash your basil leaves before making your pesto.
Don’t immerse the leaves in water, just rinse them and dry them immediately.
You need to rinse the basil leaves to ensure that any dirt or bugs that may be on the leaves are washed off.
What kind of nuts do you use for making pesto?
For our basil pesto recipe, we’ve used pine nuts and blanched almonds, but they can easily be replaced with walnuts, pistachios, macadamia, or peanuts.
You can even try making pesto with seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds can all work too.
Which pasta goes well with pesto?
Spaghetti is screaming out for a fresh basil pesto sauce!
Other kinds of pasta that would also be great are rigatoni, fusilli, or farfalle (bow-tie pasta).
What equipment do I need to make homemade pesto?
To make our basil pesto recipe quickly and easily, you’ll need a food processor or blender.
A food processor will dramatically cut down the time it takes to make this delicious sauce,
If you haven’t got a food processor then don’t worry, you can still make it, it just needs extra effort.
Just get a sharp knife and chop all the ingredients, they need to be very finely chopped, and use grated parmesan cheese instead of chunks of cheese.
What can you substitute for Parmesan cheese in pesto?
We always use vegetarian Parmesan cheese in our homemade basil pesto sauce.
Parmesan cheese isn’t vegetarian, it contains animal rennet, but stores are increasingly stocking vegetarian Parmesan, which is great news.
You may also see Italian hard cheese which is vegetarian, this is a great substitute for Parmesan cheese.
Please note that pecorino romano is not vegetarian.
Can pesto be eaten raw?
Yes, it can.
The whole appeal of a basil pesto recipe is that you eat it raw, you’ll add it as a sauce to cooked spaghetti, but you wouldn’t cook it.
What does pesto go well with?
We all know that pesto pasta is delicious, but what else can you use this tasty basil pesto sauce for?
Added to bruschetta, basil pesto helps to make a delicious appetizer.
Spread a generous helping on a sandwich, in a wrap or ciabatta with grilled cheese.
Add basil pesto to a pizza instead of a tomato sauce.
Add a little to your favorite soup.
Make a dip out of it, simply add it to Fromage frais, soft cheese, or Greek yogurt.
Try adding it to mashed potato!
Add it to roasted vegetables, mushrooms, pumpkin, or squash.
So as you can see, this homemade pesto recipe is very flexible.
How do I store it?
Your new favorite pesto recipe stores very well.
Store leftover pesto in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Alternatively, you can store any leftover pesto in the freezer as it will freeze for up to 3 months – what’s not to love about our basil pesto recipe?
Recipe notes and expert tips
More easy sauce recipes for you to try
If you like our basil pesto, then why not give these delicious sauce recipes a try? Arrabiata sauce, marinara sauce, ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, sour cream and chives, and curry sauce.
Got leftover vegetarian Parmesan? Try these Parmesan garlic knots!
How to easily make pesto from fresh basil with step-by-step instructions
It’s easy to make homemade basil pesto if you follow our simple instructions.
A full printable recipe and the measurements in both US customary and metric are available in the recipe card below.
First, break up your Parmesan cheese and place it in your food processor or blender.
Next, add your fresh basil leaves, followed by fresh garlic clove, pine nuts, and blanched almonds.
Now add the zest of one lemon and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Lastly, add in your extra virgin olive oil.
Secure the lid on your food processor or blender and blitz until you have a creamy smooth pesto.
Taste and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
It’s ready to use – enjoy!
We hope you enjoy making and eating our homemade basil pesto and would love to hear how you got with making it.
Please leave a comment below or feel free to ask any questions you may have.
Basil pesto recipe
- 4 oz Vegetarian Parmesan cheese roughly broken into chunks
- 3 cups Fresh basil leaves washed, with stalks removed
- 1 Clove garlic
- ½ cup Pine nuts
- ½ cup Blanched almonds
- 1 Lemon zest & juice
- ½ cup Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- First, break up your Parmesan cheese and place it in your food processor or blender. Next, add your fresh basil leaves, followed by fresh garlic clove, pine nuts, and blanched almonds4 oz Vegetarian Parmesan cheese, 3 cups Fresh basil leaves, 1 Clove garlic, ½ cup Pine nuts, ½ cup Blanched almonds
- Now add the zest of one lemon and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Lastly, add in your extra virgin olive oil. Secure the lid on your food processor or blender and blitz until you have a creamy smooth pesto. Taste and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper1 Lemon, ½ cup Extra virgin olive oil, Kosher salt and black pepper
- That's it! It's ready to use – enjoy!
- Freezing your basil pesto?
Freeze your leftover pesto in tablespoon portions, in ice cube trays, once frozen pop them out, and store the pesto blocks in freezer bags
- Don’t have a food processor or blender?
Use grated Parmesan cheese and chop all the ingredients, ensuring they are as finely chopped as possible
- Got leftover pine nuts?
Scatter pine nuts over our mushroom pasta or on top of our four cheese lasagne
- Out of extra virgin olive oil?
Not a problem just use olive oil instead, please note that olive oil spray won’t work, it needs to be olive oil in liquid form
Please note that nutrient values are estimates only. Variations can occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of origin, preparation, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.
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Did you make this recipe?
We love hearing how you went with ours recipes! Tag us on Instagram at @splash_of_taste_uk
For the step-by-step version of this recipe check out how to make basil pesto.
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