How to Make Pesto [Video]

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet

Pesto is the favorite olive oil-based sauce made with basil. Make that gourmet pasta you like with this recipe and enjoy restaurant-quality food at home!

If you like a full Italian spread this weekend, then, make this sauce along with other Italian-inspired recipes that we have! Pasta pairs well with Italian Chopped Salad, Keto Italian Chicken Skewers, and Italian Chicken and Potatoes!

How to Make Pesto

Easy Pesto Recipe

Pesto is cheesy and flavorful with its unique mix of herb and aromatics. When I crave for pasta, I sometimes try to avoid the cream-based or tomato-based sauces that we have all the time.

Nothing bad with them, of course. They are delicious! Just a couple of days ago, I was craving for something out of the ordinary and tried to add variety in our menu rotation, I made this pesto instead!

And guess what, my family loved it! With it, you can easily elevate a simple pasta meal, or just use it to make a Caprese salad. So, if you are like me who always strives to serve something new and fresh, then, this recipe is perfect for you!

What is pesto?

This sauce originated in Genoa in Italy. The name is derived from an Italian word which means “to crush,” this sauce is mainly made with crushed basil leaves in a base of olive oil.

What is pesto made of:

Aside from being fresh-tasting and uber easy to prepare, this recipe requires only a handful of ingredients! The only five ingredients that you will ever need are the following:

  • fresh basil
  • pine nuts
  • garlic cloves
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • parmesan cheese – freshly grated

How to Make Pesto

Is pesto healthy?

Yes! But the sodium levels of commercially available ones are off the charts, making it ideal to prepare at home where you can control the ingredients.

This dip is made with two main ingredients: the olive oil and the basil. We all know that olive oil has lots of antioxidants and even if it has fats, they are the monosaturated kind which is healthy. Meanwhile, the fresh basil leaves have many health benefits, too.

They are packed with antioxidants and nutrients with negligible calories. Also, they can help with regulating blood sugar levels and lowering blood pressure.

Basil is a good source of vitamin K which helps in blood clotting. Hence, consult your doctor regarding the intake of basil if you are on medication especially related to blood pressure and sugar.

How do you make pesto:

Once you have prepared the ingredients, then, it is only a matter of time before you can taste your final product! Follow these easy steps:

  • Mince: Use a food processor to mince the fresh basil leaves, garlic, and pine nuts. Then, turn the food processor to LOW.
  • Add oil: Slowly pour in the olive oil and process until smooth.
  • Add cheese: Throw in the parmesan cheese and combine well.
  • Serve: Scoop out and serve!

Can you make pesto using frozen basil?

Technically, people freeze fresh herbs all the time and use it for their recipes. But, personally, I will not use frozen basil to make pesto because freezing changes the color and texture.

Or, if you freeze it properly by blanching the leaves first, they can retain the color, but the flavor is unlike the fresh ones, and the texture changes, too.

How to Make Pesto

How to store:

  • Refrigerate: Store it in an airtight container then, refrigerate for 5 to 7 days.
  • Freeze: You can put in ice cubes, then, when frozen, transfer to freezer bags. Each time you will need it int he future, just get a cube or two. The sauce can keep for 3 to 4 months.

Recipe Tips:

  • You can enjoy this sauce as a dip, as a spread, or as a topping to just about anything.
  • To vary, substitute walnuts to pine nuts, or add parsley and mint to the basil.
  • If you have many fresh basil leaves, you can dry them and use for future recipes.

Watch Recipe Video:

Save Recipe
5 from 1 reviews
How to Make Pesto
Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 6 servings of 1/4 cup
Prep time: 10 minutes Total time: 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 6 cups  fresh basil leaves  (stems removed)
  • 1 cup  pine nuts  (toasted for extra flavor if desired)
  • 4 cloves  garlic 
  • 1 1/4 cup  extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup  freshly grated parmesan cheese 

Instructions

  1. Add the basil leaves, garlic cloves, and pine nuts to a food processor and blend until the ingredients are finely minced.
  2. With the food processor on low speed, gradually add the olive oil and blend until smooth.
  3. Add the grated parmesan cheese, and blend by pulsating a few times, until just combined.
  4. Scoop the pesto into a serving bowl and use on pasta, salad or as a dip.
Calories: 235 Carbohydrates: 3 Protein: 6 Fat: 22 Saturated Fat: 3 Cholesterol: 5 Sodium: 135 Potassium: 212 Fiber: 1 Sugar: 0 Vitamin A: 1330 Vitamin C: 4.5 Calcium: 145 Iron: 2.1
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How to Make Pesto

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Comments

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Chrissie Baker

Ah I looove homemade pesto! I put pesto on everything and this looks amazingly delicious.

Reply

Demeter

Such a great idea to freeze it in cubes! Thank you for helping me stretch my dollar even further.

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Dorothy at Shockinglydelish

I always plant a bunch of basil in the garden just so I can make pesto. Soooo good!

Reply

Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert

This looks incredibly delicious! I'm going to have to try this.

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Vik

Looks amazing! Definitely giving this a try

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Katerina @ diethood .com

This looks SO delicious!!! A must try!! YUM!

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Patricia @ Grab a Plate

This looks lovely! And so fresh for the summer season! What a great "sauce" option for pasta!

Reply

Tasheena

I'm a huge fan of pesto. I can't wait to try this recipe for my next dish. 

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Amber Myers

I will have to try to make this one day. I do enjoy pesto, and it's been ages since I've had it.

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Liz Mays

Oh I love a good pesto and this sounds super easy. I really want to start making my own for use in some pastas and snacks.

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Bonnie G

I don't think I have ever tryed pesto before. Sounds yummy. Thanks for recipe.

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Theresa

I've been working on my basil plants all summer just to try my hand at making fresh pesto at home. I can't wait to try this recipe. It looks so simple, yet packed with delicious flavor!

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Heather

This is awwesome. Pesto is one of the best foods to add to noodles and some of my homemade bread!

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Heather

Usually my basil does really well, but this year all of my plants died due to pests. I love making fresh pesto!

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Kathy

I love having pesto. I've never actually made it myself before though. I'm glad to have seen this recipe. I'll make sure to make this real soon.

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Winter White

I did not know that pesto only has 5 ingredients! I love pesto on about everything so I am going to try this out.

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Sarah Bailey

Now this sounds like an absolutely delicious recipe for homemade pesto. Do you know I have never thought to make it myself! I need to try it out.

Reply

Alyssa

Yum!! This sounds yummy. I was looking for a new pesto recipe!

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Ruth I.

Love this! My niece's favorite is pesto pasta. We always use the instant sauce though. I will be trying this for sure!

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Pam

I have never made Pesto before but would love to give it a try! I love pastas, so this will be right up my alley!

Reply

Shannon Gurnee

I've never made pesto before. Looks like a delicious recipe.

Reply

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