Easy Basil Pesto Sauce - homemade recipe with olive oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese and pine nuts. This is the same recipe I use for my Chicken Pesto Kabobs. Let me show you how easy this recipe is to make and enjoy on more than just a bowl of pasta. Tips are included also for freezing and storing this homemade condiment and sauce.
This recipe has been updated since it first appeared in 2016 with new photos, information and a new printable recipe card that includes nutritional information. I hope you enjoy the updates as much as I enjoyed working on them!
One of the herbs most people love to grow either in their garden or in a container on their kitchen windowsill is basil. And why not? It's pretty easy to grow and you can use it in so many recipes.
Most people serve Easy Basil Pesto Sauce on top of pasta. It's a great side dish for chicken cutlet recipes or a meal on its own.
Check out my gardening post on Tips for Growing Basil if you'd like to try to grow it this spring and summer. It really is an easy herb to grow and enjoy in many recipes.
Best Basil Pesto Sauce
Here are just a few fun facts about basil and pesto:
- Besides tomato sauce, pesto sauce is a huge favorite for many people.
- Made with fresh basil, pesto sauce can be used in many recipes besides as a sauce for pasta.
- Basil has become one of the most recognizable herbs because of Pesto!
- It's a very fragrant plant and there are over 60 different types of basil to plant all of which differ in taste.
- This herb is also an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
- It's also a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids.
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Main Ingredients Needed
Exact measurements are listed below in the recipe card. Make sure you scroll down to print and save the recipe for later!
- Fresh Basil Leaves
- Chopped pine nuts
- Garlic Cloves
- Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper; to taste
Step 1: Combine the Ingredients
Add the basil leaves, nuts, garlic cloves and cheese to a food processor and pulse until well chopped.
Step 2: Add the Oil
With the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil until the mixture is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pesto is best when used right away, but if you have extra, here are a few ways to store:
- Store in an air-tight container for up to a week in the refrigerator.
- The color can turn a little brown, so it is recommended that you add a layer of olive oil to the top of the pesto and cover tightly.
- When you need to use the pesto again, just stir the olive oil into the pesto and you're good to go!
And if you have an abundance of basil growing in your garden, here are a few ways to store basil and homemade pesto sauce:
- The best way is to add the pesto sauce to ice cube trays and allow the sauce to freeze.
- Then remove the ice cubes from the tray and store in a freezer safe bag.
- Pesto that has been frozen like this can last for up to six months in the freezer.
Of course, the best way to enjoy your fresh pesto sauce is right over hot pasta; which happens to be my son's favorite way. But here are a few other recipes for you to use that I know your family will enjoy:
- Grilled Pesto Panini Sandwiches
- Chicken Stuffed with Mozzarella, Tomato, Pesto and Spinach
- Christmas Tree Puff Pastry Appetizer
- Chicken Pesto Kabobs
Tried this recipe? Let me know in the comments and don't forget to rate it!
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese; freshly grated
- Add the basil leaves, nuts, garlic cloves and cheese to a food processor and pulse until well chopped.
- With the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil until the mixture is emulsified.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Store in an air-tight container for up to a week in the refrigerator.