Skip the store-bought sauces and whip up a fast and fresh recipe for the best basil pesto perfect for serving with your favorite noodles.
I first shared this recipe for basil pesto way back in 2009. And after recently featuring it in my Instagram Stories, I decided it was about time this ol’ post got a makeover. The recipe is still the tried and true classic. But the photos have gotten some much needed nipping and tucking. (My Nikon and I have come a long way in the past 8 years!)
Basil pesto is one of my earliest childhood food memories, all thanks to my mom Noni, who made this recipe a staple in our home decades ago. The sauce is rich in flavor (and how about that color!), yet it stars seemingly few ingredients, allowing the fresh basil to take on the starring role.
Its garlicky without being overwhelming, and it leaves the door wide open for customizations when it comes to nuts. Pine nuts are, of course, the most traditional option. But I’ve followed this exact recipe and substituted in nearly every nut variety with success, from pistachios and walnuts to almonds and even as one reader noted below, macadamia nuts.
And speaking of versatility, this basil pesto can be used in many a ways beyond a bowl of noodles. Try stirring a tablespoon or two into mayonnaise for a flavor-packed sandwich spread or French fry dip, or use it as the base for a seriously herbacious salad dressing.
No matter what way you blend it or use it, one thing is certain: Homemade basil pesto beats the store-bought stuff every time. And if you’re staring down any leftovers, pour it into an ice cube tray then freeze it. Pesto craving? POp out a cube, stir it into piping hot pasta and devour!
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- 2 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and dried thoroughly
- 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 Tablespoons pine nuts, toasted and cooled
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- In a food processor or blender, combine the basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, garlic, toasted pine nuts, kosher salt and pepper. Pulse the ingredients together until well blended.
- While the food processor or blender is running, drizzle in the olive oil and continue blending, scraping down the sides as needed, until the pesto is puréed. Taste and season it with salt and pepper then serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve.
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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.
It’s a really good recipe. Does not make 1 cup tho. Double recipe if you want to cover an entire 16oz pkg of pasta.
Thanks for your note, Kendra. I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe!
I had pesto once many years ago store bought and it was terrible and had never try it again. But tonight I made your recipe for pesto with pasta, as I had a huge basil plant in my garden this year and great big Russian garlic as well. I did sub the pine nuts for walnuts but it was still very tasty. I must say it was truly delicious and I made three more batches just so I could freeze some for a later date. Thank You so much for this delicious recipe for a truly fresh organic dinner on a very hot summer evening, except the cheese lol, as it was store bought. I would highly recommend this recipe to all.
AMAZING! I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Ric!
So delicious! I made it with toasted pumpkin seeds. I just couldn’t stop eating it!
Woohoo! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Shirley!
Best pesto I’ve ever made! I added a couple extra garlic cloves as I love garlic. The toasted pine nuts make a much better flavor than non toasted, so that’s a thing I never knew before. I’ll be using some of this on a homemade chicken/white cheese pizza tonight. Freezing the rest. It is very delicious! Easy to make!
Woohoo! I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Cindy!
Hi…made it now and am really pleased with the outcome. Didn’t have nuts so omitted that. Also didn’t add pepper as I was out of that too but still very tasty as is. Will be making this for from now on. Thanks for sharing
You are so welcome! I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe!
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