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Garden Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe
The perfect condiment, dipping sauce or sandwich spread
Basil Pesto is perfect tossed with hot pasta, spread on a sandwich or slice of crusty bread, or dolloped on grilled chicken or fish. There are so many ways to use it, and each one delicious!
For many years I featured recipes with our home-grown garden vegetables and herbs as the stars. These “garden-to-table” posts have been few this year as we were late getting the garden planted, and then came the heat. However, we have enjoyed a great deal of yellow squash and cucumbers and a very prolific basil plant!
I’ve made pesto and featured it in several recipes on the blog but never gave it a well deserved post of it’s own. If you’ve never made your own basil pesto, don’t wait another minute!
- fresh garlic
- black pepper
- fresh basil leaves
- pine nuts or walnuts
- fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- extra virgin olive oil
How to make pesto
Pesto is one of the easiest things in the world to make. There’s no cooking, baking, boiling or frying required. All you need is a food processor and a few fresh ingredients.
If you don’t have a food processor you can muddle the ingredients together with a mortar and pestle.
- First, add the garlic, salt, pepper, basil and nuts to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until well blended and pasty.
- Scrape down the sides with a spatula and pulse again. Add the fresh grated Parmesan cheese and pulse until blended.
- With the processor running, slowly drizzle the olive oil through the chute and process until smooth.
- Taste and check the seasoning and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Use the pesto immediately or store properly
Pesto can be used immediately by adding to hot cooked pasta, dolloped over grilled chicken or fish or smeared on a slice of crusty bread or a sandwich.
If storing for later use, press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pesto to seal out any air bubbles. Pesto will turn dark if left exposed to air.
How to freeze pesto
Homemade basil pesto can be frozen in small batches before adding the cheese. Line an ice cube tray with plastic wrap. Dollop tablespoons of the pesto into the ice cube tray. Drizzle a little olive oil on top of each then freeze. Once frozen, store the basil pesto cubes in an airtight container in the freezer until ready to use.
Add pesto cubes to soups and pasta or any of your favorite sauces.
If using as a dip, allow the pesto to thaw then add grated Parmesan cheese.
Amazing, wonderful, fragrant, full bodied homemade pesto, fresh from the garden!
One of our favorite ways to use this luscious sauce is in our Chicken Pesto Pasta dish. This hearty and satisfying meal is packed with flavor.
We also never get tired of our Basil Pesto Cream with Tortellini. This fantastic dish can be on the table in under 30 minutes. It’s great as a light main course or side dish served with grilled meats.
Over the years this recipe has evolved as I changed the ingredients slightly and tweaked the measurements here and there. This is without a doubt, my favorite to date!
Thanks for PINNING!
- 2 large cloves garlic crushed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup tightly packed basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- ¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Add the garlic, salt, pepper, basil and pine nuts to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until well blended. Scrape the sides with a spatula and pulse again. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until mixed. With the processor running, slowly drizzle the olive oil through the chute and process until smooth.
- Check the seasonings and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Use immediately or put in a small bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap on the top to seal out any air bubbles. The pesto will turn dark if left exposed to air.
- Before adding the cheese, pesto can be frozen in small batches (use a plastic wrap lined ice cube tray). Store the frozen pesto cubes in an airtight container until ready to use. Add the basil pesto "cubes" to soups and pasta or any of your favorite sauces.
Here are a few other recipes you can enjoy with Pesto
Grilled Cheese with Heirloom Tomatoes and Pesto
Grilled Pesto Pizza with Arugula and Feta
This year we moved our basil from our garden to a large pot on the deck. It has thrived on the deck and I’m thrilled!
Did you know basil is a natural mosquito repellant? Bonus! Basil is a beautiful plant that needs to be pruned often to prevent it from flowering. If flowers develop the plant will stop producing leaves.
Even if you don’t plan to use the clippings, bring them inside and place in a jar of water to enjoy the lovely fragrance.
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