Basic Pesto


Basic Pesto

Simply Sated
Fresh pesto can be enjoyed in many ways in addition to topping pasta. Use as a sandwich spread, pizza sauce, topping for grilled meat and chicken or stirred into salad dressing.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 8
Calories 190 kcal


  • Food processor


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, optional


  • Wash basil and pat dry. Coarsely chop garlic.
  • Place basil leaves, garlic, nuts, salt and pepper in a food processor with steel chopping blade in place. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
  • With the motor running, slowly add olive oil and process until oil is fully combined.
  • Add cheese and pulse a few times until combined. Add lemon juice if using.


Smart Shopping Tips
  • To save money and reduce waste, try buying nuts in bulk so you buy only what you need. Nuts can be frozen if you don’t use them all at once.  Almonds can be frozen for up to a year, but pine nuts should be used within 6 months of freezing for best quality.
Cooking & Serving Tips:
  • Pine nuts or pecans can be used in place of walnuts.
  • Any kind of hard cheese can be used, such as Parmigiano Regiano Parmesan.
  • Other green herbs can be added. Try some parsley or cilantro.
  • For a variation, try adding some shallots or roasted red peppers.
  • If you want to freeze pesto, don’t add the cheese. After thawing, mix in the cheese well. Use frozen pesto within three months.
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