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+ servings

Basil Pesto

Fresh basil leaves blended with simple ingredients for a classic no-cook sauce great on pasta, sandwiches and more. Vegetarian if the Parmesan is vegetarian. Keeps well in the fridge for 5 days. Yield: 1 cup.
Course Dressings/Sauces, Prep
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Basil, Garlic, Olive Oil, Pesto
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 240kcal
Author Emma J. Watling


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • cup grated Parmesan freshly grated or shaker-style
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • juice of ½ a lemon = ~ 1 tbsp
  • cup olive oil best quality
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • Combine basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, garlic and lemon juice in a food processor.
  • Pulse 2-3 times. Then, with the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified.
  • Scrape down sides if needed and pulse 1-2 more times to incorporate.

Use immediately, or to store:

  • Store in refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Stir before use.


Tips on this pesto sauce:
  • quality ingredients are key--you'll want really good olive oil
  • The lemon juice helps keep the bright green color fresh. We have made pesto without it but much prefer the addition of the lemon juice.
  • Taste before adding salt--your Parmesan may be very salty and you may not need any additional salt
Pine nuts can be pricey--we have find buying them from the bulk section is about 50% cheaper than buying them in the baking/nut aisle!


Serving: 14cup | Calories: 240kcal