The Best Basil Pesto

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Basil Pesto

If you’ve got 15 minutes and lots of fresh basil, you’re in business. You can make delicious basil pesto sauce in no time! This is the best!

Recipe for Basil Pesto

Basil pesto, like the Jewel of the Nile. Just 4emember that basil pesto has a strong flavor, so a little goes a long way.

Start with a small amount and add more to taste. You can also customize the recipe by adding other ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, or roasted red peppers for unique variations.

How to Make Pesto Sauce

Whether you use it as a sauce, spread, or dressing, basil pesto sauce is sure to elevate your dishes and add a burst of fresh, herby goodness!

And, it’s a no brainer to make. If you grow your own basil, you can make large amounts like I have in this recipe with four super packed cups of basil leaves!

Basil Pesto Sauce

Without a doubt, basil pesto sauce is a delicious and versatile Italian condiment made primarily from fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, and olive oil.

It originated in Genoa, Italy, and has become popular worldwide as a flavorful addition to various dishes.

No Nut Pesto Recipe

Now if you don’t want nuts, then just omit. But you might consider substitute garbanzo beans or tahini, which is a sesame seed paste. 

Either of these will just add to the depth of flavor of your pesto. Or, as I said, go no nuts and omit. 

Best Pesto

Note that traditional basil pesto contains pine nuts, but you can experiment with other nuts or seeds to suit your taste or accommodate any nut allergies.

Additionally, some variations include a squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of red pepper flakes for added brightness or spiciness. Get creative and enjoy the wonderful flavors of basil pesto!

What to Do with Basil Pesto Sauce

First of all, you can make my absolutely divine Pesto Meatballs! Yep, it will create happy havoc at the dinner table! 

  1. Pasta: Toss cooked pasta (such as spaghetti, linguine, or penne) with the basil pesto sauce until it coats the pasta evenly. You can add some sautéed vegetables, grilled chicken, or shrimp for a complete meal.

  2. Pizza: Use basil pesto as a flavorful pizza sauce instead of traditional tomato sauce. Top it with your favorite cheese, vegetables, and meats for a unique and tasty pizza.

  3. Sandwiches and Wraps: Spread basil pesto on bread or tortillas before adding your favorite sandwich ingredients or wrap fillings. It adds a burst of flavor and can replace other spreads like mayonnaise or mustard.

  4. Bruschetta: Top slices of toasted baguette with a dollop of basil pesto and fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, or other toppings to create a delightful appetizer.

  5. Salad Dressing: Mix basil pesto with a little lemon juice, olive oil, and a touch of vinegar to create a flavorful dressing for salads. It pairs particularly well with tomato, mozzarella, and arugula salads.

  6. Grilled Meats and Fish: Use basil pesto as a marinade for grilled chicken, salmon, shrimp, or other meats and fish. The herbs and oils in the pesto will infuse the protein with fantastic flavors.

  7. Dip: Serve basil pesto as a dip for breadsticks, crackers, or fresh vegetables like carrots and celery.

  8. Pasta Salad: Stir basil pesto into cold pasta salad, along with cherry tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese for a delicious and refreshing dish.

  9. Stuffed Vegetables: Use basil pesto as a filling for vegetables like mushrooms or bell peppers before baking or grilling them.

  10. Potato or Grain Bowl: Drizzle basil pesto over roasted potatoes, quinoa, rice, or any grain bowl for an extra burst of flavor.

Basil Pesto Uses

Whether you use it as a sauce, spread, or dressing, basil pesto sauce is sure to elevate your dishes and add a burst of fresh, herby goodness!

And, don’t overlook that you can use this same recipe and do a combination of fresh herbs creating a mixed herb pesto sauce! 

How Long does Pesto Last

The shelf life of basil pesto sauce depends on how it is stored. Typically, basil pesto can be kept in the refrigerator or freezer, and the storage duration varies for each method:

  1. Refrigerator: If you store basil pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it will generally last for about 5 to 7 days. Make sure to cover the surface with a thin layer of olive oil to help preserve its vibrant green color and prevent it from oxidizing.

  2. Freezer: Basil pesto freezes well and can be stored in the freezer for an extended period. Transfer the pesto to an airtight container or ice cube trays (for smaller portions) and cover it with a layer of olive oil to prevent freezer burn. When stored properly, basil pesto can last for up to 3 to 4 months in the freezer.

How to Store Fresh Pesto

Keep in mind that the quality of basil pesto may gradually decline over time, so it’s best to use it within the recommended storage periods for the best flavor and freshness.

If you have a large batch of pesto and can’t use it all within the recommended timeframes, freezing is a great option to preserve its taste and color. Just thaw it in the refrigerator or at room temperature before using.

Can Homemade Pesto be Frozen

Remember that the storage durations mentioned above are general guidelines and may vary based on the specific ingredients and preparation of your basil pesto.

Always use your best judgment and rely on your senses to check for any signs of spoilage, such as off odors, mold growth, or changes in appearance, before using the sauce.

Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto

The Best Basil Pesto

Yield: About 24 ounces


  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves, peeled and cut into smaller pieces
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup parmesan, grated
  • 1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, optional


  1. Put about half of the basil and olive oil in a food processor and blend into a thick mixture. Add the remaining basil leaves and blend well.
  2. Add the garlic, pine nuts, grated cheese and remaining oil and blend into a thick spreadable consistency.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste and a dash of red chili flakes if you want a kick!

Your sharing is GOLDEN! Thank you!

Your sharing and comments help me stay in business! Share a photo if you make the recipe #allyskitchen Thank you! xo Ally

Basil Pesto


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