Make this homemade basil pesto for a vibrant and flavorful addition to your pastas, pizzas and sandwiches! For this easy pesto recipe, you can use the traditional pine nuts and basil or switch it up with your favorite nuts and leafy greens!
Summer is here and basil is in season, which means it’s time for basil pesto! While store-bought pesto is great for the occasional weeknight meal, there’s nothing quite like fresh basil pesto to elevate your summer dinners. Pesto comes together in just minutes and involves barely any effort — simply toss everything in a food processor and blend until smooth!
You can trade out the pine nuts in this basil pesto for almost any other nuts you have on hand. Walnuts are my favorite substitute, but almonds, pecans and cashews are also great options. If you’re looking to go nut-free, try a handful of sunflower seeds or omit the crunch completely and add about a half cup of parmesan instead!
And basil doesn’t have to be your only option for a delicious pesto! While pesto is wonderful if you’ve got a bunch of basil growing in your garden, buying basil at the supermarket can be expensive, especially if you need a large quantity. So if you’re craving pesto in the off-season, try using another leafy green such as spinach or even kale! Both options are still incredibly flavorful and healthy too!
using pesto beyond pasta
While my absolute favorite way to enjoy pesto is to toss it with a bit of buttery pasta, it’s incredibly versatile and there are so many ways to incorporate it into your meals. For example, since I’ve never been a huge lover of pizzas with red sauce, I often use pesto as the base of my pizzas!
And pesto doesn’t extend just to traditional Italian cuisine! One of my go-to summer lunches is toasted ciabatta with just pesto, mozzarella and tomatoes — it’s amazingly delicious and I can whip it up in just minutes! Or if you’re making a side dish, consider mixing in a bit of pesto. It can add a bit of freshness to simple dishes such as roasted potatoes!
- basil leaves 40 g (2 c)
- pine nuts 50 g (⅓ c)
- garlic 2 cloves
- lemon juice 1 tbsp
- grated parmesan 2 tbsp
- salt ½ tsp
- olive oil 120 ml (½ c)
- First, toast the pine nuts - this step is optional, but will give your pesto a nice nutty flavor! Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Place the pine nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast for about 5 minutes. Watch carefully so they don't burn!
- Add the basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, parmesan and salt to a food processor and blend.
- Gradually add the olive oil and pulse until smooth.