Classic Basil Pesto

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Looking for a fresh last-minute condiment for pasta? This rich and creamy classic basil pesto takes minutes to prepare and requires only 3 ingredients-fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, and extra virgin olive oil.

I am infatuated with pesto. It’s a constant in my recipe rotation and you can almost always find a stash stored in the freezer.

Classic Basil Pesto

Everyone knows the dinnertime rush. I’d like to pretend that I have always have the inspiration and motivation to prepare an interesting, made-from-scratch dinner for the family, but that’s not the case. Life is busy-and weeknights are often way too stressful to spend time and effort in the kitchen.

And that is why this pesto is a must-have in your fridge or freezer. Homemade basil pesto is unbelievably easy to make and it stores well, meaning it is the perfect condiment for a quick pasta dinner for the family.

Classic Basil Pesto

While we visiting our family in Sardinia, Italy during the summer we have the luxury of having fresh, homegrown produce at our fingertips, including basil.

If you grow your own basil, you probably know that you often end up with so much basil all at once that you don’t know what to do with it. Making pesto is probably your best choice in that case.

You can make a big batch and freeze any leftovers. Ice cube trays are a good way to freeze pesto. Simply pour the pesto into the small cubes and freeze. You can also remove the pesto cubes from the ice cube tray once frozen and store in a freezer bag to reduce space.

Classic Basil Pesto

Here are ways to incorporate pesto into meals;

  • Add to tomato sauce
  • Spread over grilled veggies
  • Add to meatballs
  • Spread on a sandwich or flatbread
  • Mix with quinoa, rice or even in frittatas
  • Add as a garnish for soup
  • Mix into salad dressing
  • Add to baked bread or savoury muffins, scones, etc.
  • Smear on bruschetta
  • Toss with roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes

Pesto lends to a variety of interpretations; replace basil with kale or spinach, and the pine nuts with roasted walnuts or pumpkin seeds.

Classic Basil Pesto

Looking for more pesto-inspired recipes? Here are some to try;

Shrimp Sweet Pea Pesto Risotto
Pesto Gnocchi N’ Cheese
Pesto Prosciutto Mozzarella Quinoa Arancini
Roasted Veggie Pesto Pasta
Pesto Caprese Quinoa Salad

If you try this recipe (and love it!) be sure to snap a pic and tag me onInstagram with #bitesforfoodies so I can see your creation!

Prep time
Total time


Yields: 1/2 cup
2 cups fresh basil
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1/4 cup - 1/3 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbs. grated Parmesan (optional)
sea salt for taste


This recipes calls for a small food processor. You could also combine the ingredients in a mortar and pestle.


Toast pine nuts in small frying pan on medium heat for 2-3 minutes (stirring them constantly) or until slightly browned.


In the meantime, remove the stems of the basil leaves and add to the food processor. Add the pine nuts and blend for about 1 minute to grind the pine nuts completely.

Slowly drizzle the olive oil (into the spout of the lid of the food processor) while continuously blending, until you get the desired consistency.
*TIP: I always make my pesto on the thicker side since I always add some pasta cooking water during the cooking process.


Once you have the desired consistency, add the grated Parmesan cheese and sea salt then blend again for a few seconds to combine.

Classic Basil Pesto

  • i really need to try some of these recipes so i can eat better too. these are some really great ideas

  • I am embarrassed to admit that I have never even attempted making Pesto and rely on Pesto mix from some direct sales company. i will definitely have to give this recipe a try, you make it look so easy!

    • You will be amazed at how easy it is to make!! Just don’t skimp on the quality of ingredients…it makes all the difference!

  • CourtneyLynne Storms

    Oooooo this pesto sounds pretty tasty!!! It’s been awhile since I had anything with pesto….. Totally could go for a bowl of pesto pasta now!

  • Beth

    That looks delicious!! I’m a huge fan of pesto and love mixing it with a good pasta!

  • I had no idea it was this easy to make pesto! I’m pinning this to try soon!

  • Oooh… this looks so yummy! i might try some for lunch, I think this might go nicely with a cheese muffin :)

  • I have always wanted to make fresh pesto, I never realized it was so easy. Definitely trying this recipe out!

    • It really is! When you make it yourself you can choose the freshest ingredients too, which makes a huge difference in flavour!

  • I have never tried pesto before. Looks very interesting, will have to try soon.

  • John Lopez

    I’ve never try it before looks yummy and tasty.

  • Jennifer Juro

    I have never tried pesto before!! This sounds amazing and delicious!

  • michele d

    I love pesto. I use it mostly on my pasta but boy it’s good. Thanks for your recipe. I’ll be trying it out soon.

  • Joe James

    Pesto is one of my favorite side dishes or condiments. It goes great with so many various dishes. I like how you incorporated pesto with so many dishes. You are my kind of people!

  • Yummy! Pesto is everyone’s favorite here.. I find this healthier than the other sauces. Tomato is too acidic for me and Alfredo is too heavy. Thanks for sharing this recipe..

    • Where are you from? I agree with you too…I don’t digest tomatoes very well and I don’t eat dairy products (but I still think Alfredo is way too heavy!)

      • From Chennai, India :) We are on the same page.. :) BTW, your blog is amazing!

        • I didn’t know pesto was so popular there!! And thank you for the compliments about the Blog! ;-)

  • Penny @ pennyspassion.blogspot

    So excited to see this recipe! I was just thinking that I could probably make my own pesto instead of buying it. Can’t wait to grow my own basil this summer and making this recipe.

  • Oh wow. This is such a recipe to try – especially seems healthy as well.

  • Definitely going to have to Pin this one. I have got to try it. Looks fabulous!

  • Sarh Snarski

    I don’t think I have EVER tried Pesto sauce! I do love pasta thought!

    • You have to try it! It’s such a light, easy to make alternative to traditional pasta sauce.