Homemade Basil Pesto Recipe

Last week, Jada and I made some pesto from our fresh basil for the first time. We don’t really ever eat pesto, just ’cause it’s so darn expensive to buy! But after making it in a matter of minutes, and seeing how easy it is to whip up and how delicious it tastes, I’m gonna make every excuse I can find to use more of this stuff in our meals. Especially seeing as we have basil coming out of our ears at the moment!

I know the picture doesn’t exactly make it look appetizing, but those of you who have actually tasted pesto know how truly tasty it is. It’s especially good tossed with pasta, which is how we ate our first batch. And I must say, it was somewhat satisfying knowing that what we were eating was fresh from our garden and full of nothing but good stuff.

Here is the recipe I used. Personally, I thought it was just a tad bit too tangy (less lemon juice next time?), though Jerry said it was delicious just the way it was.

Basil Pesto

  • 1 1/2 c. fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 c. lemon juice
  • 1/8 c. olive oil

Put the basil, garlic, and cheese into a blender or food processor and mix well. Pour in the lemon juice and olive oil, and mix again until well blended.

And that’s it! The original recipe called for pine nuts, but I didn’t have any, and I’m all about omitting expensive ingredients anyways.

Now that I know how to make pesto, I’m wondering what else besides pasta I can serve it on? I’d love to know how you use pesto, and if you have a favorite recipe to share!!

16 thoughts on “Homemade Basil Pesto Recipe”

  1. I keep coming back to this recipe…it is SO good, and I make it often now that I have so much basil. We have pecan trees, so we have an abundance of pecans in our freezer. I roast about a third cup and add to it in place of the pine nuts…delicious!

  2. Pesto is great on any type of pasta or rice (hot or cold as in salads), baked potatoes, veggies, or toasted on bread with fresh tomato slices. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. I just made some this week. I also use walnuts. I don’t use lemon juice. My recipe is from an italian book that calls for butter in it, added at the last minute along with the parm and romano cheese. This says to add the butter and cheese fresh if you freeze the pesto. So delishous!! I could add pesto to just about anything for my family.

  4. Yum!! I am hoping that by next year my basil will be big enought to harvest from for this 🙂

    I am new to planting and using fresh herbs and love it.

  5. I can’t find my recipe at the moment but I can tell you we don’t add lemon juice to ours. EVOO, basil, garlic and Parmesan cheese. We always have ours over pasta but sometimes when I have them I will add cherry tomatoes in with the pasta and pesto and its fantastic! My kids love it that way!

  6. I also make pesto. I think we have around 20 basil plants this year so I am making pesto every week and freezing it in 1/2 cup increments then I pop the frozen basil from the cups and freeze in a baggie. We are also dehydrating it. I make my pesto without nuts so more of my family can enjoy it. My kids love a pesto pizza….just the homemade pizza crust with basil spread on top and baked. Yummy and simple!

  7. I too substitute walnuts for the pine nuts. I grow as much as I can, make the pesto, freeze it in ice cube trays and enjoy it throughout the year. I love it on pizza instead of the tomato sauce, I’ve also grilled zucchini and eggplant.

  8. I love to make salad dressing with pesto. It’s your basic creamy dressing recipe but instead of ranch mix or the seasonings for ranch, you add pesto to your liking. We love it! It’s especially good served with spaghetti. I too use walnuts instead of pine nuts. At our local store they want 17.99 per pound! Mixed with some mayo and spread on a turkey sandwich is delish too.

  9. You can freeze your pesto in ice cube trays and once frozen remove and place in plastic bag that way you have fresh pesto in the dead of winter. Just take out and defrost when ready to use.

  10. I just made pesto for the 1st time last night! It was really tasty. We had it on spaghetti noodles with grilled chicken breast. I’ve also had it as a spread on a sandwich.

    Pine nuts were $5.09 at the store so I substituted walnuts and it turned out great. My recipe didn’t call for lemon juice. Wonder what kind of difference that would have made.

  11. I tried making home made basil pesto once with the left over pesto from the garden. I don’t have a food processor but my flatmate had a mortar and pestle. No problem, I thought, people make pesto using that all the time! Sadly I think it was a cheap one as it wasn’t very heavy. After 20 mins of hard labour my basil was still no closer to a lovely pesto consistency. It was sadly thrown out but you live and learn! 🙂

  12. Pesto is a huge favorite at our house. Most of the time I substitute walnuts for the pine nuts because they’re so much more affordable. We eat it on pasta, but also as a spread on sandwiches. It’s also good on grilled chicken. I’m sure there are probably a ton more uses for it. I think it would also be great on pizza.


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