Homemade Basil Pesto is a fresh and delicious burst of flavors in your mouth. The fresh basil leaves, grated parmesan cheese, and pine nuts come together in this irresistibly delicious condiment recipe!
We love this recipe for homemade pesto and use it in so many ways. While my favorite way is on a spoon, we also enjoy it on pizza, in Pesto Chicken Salad, and on sandwiches. It is a condiment that is not only keto friendly, but is easy to preserve. You can freeze the pesto in ice cube trays and have individual portions that make it easy to just pop, thaw, and use in your desired recipe!
Why I make fresh pesto
Fresh Basil is so fun to grow and it is not that hard to do! You can either grow it in your garden, in a planter box, or in a potted plant dish. We grew ours in a planter box that Grumpy built for our deck. It is pretty hearty, likes water and sun, and smells so wonderful when the breeze comes through!
Pesto Sauce is not really cheap to make. As a matter of fact, you can probably buy it in the grocery store just about as cheap as you can make it. However, when I do make it, I individually freeze portions to help it keep longer. That way I can have fresh pesto anytime I want it!
Tips for making Homemade Basil Pesto
- The most important thing is to have the right equipment. You can use a food processor or blender. Whichever is easiest for you. I prefer the food processor.
- Fresh basil leaves are a must. We always wash the basil, then pick the leaves off the stem. This recipe will take about 2 cups of fresh basil leaves.
- Fresh grated parmesan cheese is best. In a pinch you could use the dried variety, but my preference is always to grate my own.
- If you decide to season with salt and pepper, I suggest doing so by taste preference. Some parmesan cheese are saltier than others.
- Homemade Basil Pesto should have a bright green color. If you don't plan to use it up quickly, I recommend a bit of lemon juice be added to help keep that brightness.
Steps to making homemade pesto
Start with 2 cups of freshly washed basil leaves. If you haven't grown your own basil, it is readily available at the farmer's market, or in the grocery store in large quantities for a decent price.
I always use freshly grated parmesan cheese. There is nothing wrong with dried parmesan cheese, however, I prefer fresh.
We always start by pulsing the fresh basil leaves by themselves first to chop them into smaller pieces.
Then we add pine nuts, cheese, and garlic.
Pulse the ingredients to break them down. Be sure to use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the food processor periodically to get all the big pieces broken down.
Next, stream in the olive oil while the food processor is running. The oil should be added slowly to help it emulsify and keep it from separating.
Store the pesto in a sealed container in your refrigerator up to one week. Alternatively, you can store the pesto in your freezer up to 1 month.
How to use homemade basil pesto
Homemade Basil Pesto is so fresh and delicious and is a great addition to so many foods. We have used it often in recipes like Pesto Chicken Salad, Pesto Steak and Arugula Pizza, and Grilled Asparagus Halloumi Salad.
What to do with leftover pesto
- Portion the pesto out into ice cube freezer trays and then freeze until solid. Remove from tray and store in a freezer bag.
- Toss it in with hot pasta. Or, stir some in with a potato salad. It is also delicious dabbed on top of a fried egg!
- Air-fry some chicken wings, then toss them with some pesto!
- Make a low carb pizza crust, spread with pesto and sprinkle with cheese for some pesto cheese breadsticks!
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Pesto can be made with just about any nut. Another favorite pesto recipe of ours is this one for Homemade Pistachio Pesto!
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Homemade Basil Pesto
- Pulse basil in a food processor several times.
- Add the pine nuts, garlic, and cheese. Pulse several more times, scraping down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.
- Slowly add olive oil while the food processor is running. Be sure to scrape down sides of food processor intermittently during this process.
- Season with salt and pepper.