Turn your summer basil bumper crop into Basil Pesto and freeze it for colder days ahead. It’s easy to make and ready in 10 minutes or less.

Basil pesto in a clear bowl with a spoon.
Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Basil Pesto Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for basil pesto

Ingredient notes

  • Parsley: A handful of fresh parsley ensures that your pesto is always bright green (basil can dark when it gets bruised).
  • Pine nuts: For more flavor, toast the pine nuts. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat pine nuts until browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 2 to 5 minutes.
  • Garlic: Soften its raw taste by roasting garlic. In a dry medium skillet over medium-low heat, toast unpeeled garlic cloves until spotty, dark brown, and slightly softened, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely before peeling.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a food processor or blender, add basil, parsley, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and garlic. Pulse until coarsely chopped, about 10 pulses.
Basil in a food processor.
  1. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Basil pesto in a silver bowl with a spoon resting in it.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 1 cup of pesto, enough for 1 pound of pasta.
  • Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Add a layer of olive oil on top to prevent oxidation.
  • Freezer: Pour into a jar and float a layer of olive oil on top to prevent oxidation. Leave enough space at the top of the jar for expansion, then freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • More nuts: Substitute an equal amount of almondspecanscashews, or hazelnuts. Or try my basil walnut pesto.
  • Spicy: Add ¼ teaspoon or more crushed red pepper flakes to the food processor before blending.
  • Kale pesto: Omit the parsley, decrease the basil to 1 cup, and add 2 cups packed kale leaves.
  • Pesto roasted chicken: Rub pesto under and on the skin of your next whole bird, then roast to perfection.
  • Pesto cheese breadSlice a loaf of bread in half lengthwise, then spread a thick layer of pesto over each side. Top with cheese, then finish in the oven or on the grill.

Pesto Cavatappi (Noodles & Company Copycat)

There’s so much to love about springy pasta, creamy pesto sauce, and bright diced tomatoes, so it’s no wonder Pesto Cavatappi is Noodles and Company’s most popular dish. Here’s the perfected copycat recipe that’s faster,…

15 minutes
View Recipe

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A bowl of pesto with a spoon in it.

Basil Pesto

Turn your summer basil bumper crop into Basil Pesto and freeze it for colder days ahead. It's easy to make and ready in 10 minutes or less.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Servings 8 (2 tbsp) servings
Course Pantry
Cuisine Italian
Calories 166

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves packed
  • 1 cup fresh parsley packed (see note 1)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (see note 2)
  • 3 cloves garlic (see note 3)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • In a food processor or blender, add basil, parsley, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and garlic. Pulse until coarsely chopped, about 10 pulses.
  • With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Notes

  1. Parsley: A handful of fresh parsley ensures that your pesto is always bright green (basil can dark when it gets bruised).
  2. Pine nuts: For more flavor, toast the pine nuts. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat pine nuts until browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 2 to 5 minutes.
  3. Garlic: Soften its raw taste by roasting garlic. In a dry medium skillet over medium-low heat, toast unpeeled garlic cloves until spotty, dark brown, and slightly softened, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely before peeling.
  4. Yield: This recipe makes 1 cup of pesto, enough for 1 pound of pasta.
  5. Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Add a layer of olive oil on top to prevent oxidation.
  6. Freezer: Pour into a jar and float a layer of olive oil on top to prevent oxidation. Leave enough space at the top of the jar for expansion, then freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  7. More nuts: Substitute an equal amount of almondspecanscashews, or hazelnuts. Or try my basil walnut pesto.
  8. Spicy: Add ¼ teaspoon or more crushed red pepper flakes to the food processor before blending.
  9. Kale pesto: Omit the parsley, decrease the basil to 1 cup, and add 2 cups packed kale leaves.
  10. Pesto roasted chicken: Rub pesto under and on the skin of your next whole bird, then roast to perfection.
  11. Pesto cheese breadSlice a loaf of bread in half lengthwise, then spread a thick layer of pesto over each side. Top with cheese, then finish in the oven or on the grill.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tbspCalories: 166kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 2gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 55mgPotassium: 92mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 974IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 61mgIron: 1mg
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