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Basil pesto in a small glass bowl, with a gold spoon on a grey marble background.

How to Make Fresh Basil Pesto

  • Author: Kate Alexandra
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Once you’ve made your own basil pesto, you’ll never go back. It takes less than 10 minutes and is SO versatile. Toss through pasta, use as salad dressing, spoon over grilled meat or veggies or just spread on toast. 


Units Scale
  • 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Add ingredients to a food processor. Get the 2 cups of basil leaves, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and the 3 garlic cloves in the bowl of your food processor. Blitz for a minute, until a chunky paste forms. Scrape down the sides of your bowl to make sure all the ingredients are having a chance to be blitzed up.
  2. Pour in the olive oil. With the motor running, slowly pour the 1/2 cup of olive oil into the bowl of the food processor until a lovely thick pesto forms. The reason we’re pouring the oil in slowly while the motor is running is because it’ll make sure the pesto becomes a cohesive sauce, without the oil separating. Again, scrape down the bowl and blitz so everything is combined. And you’re done! Use a rubber spatula to get all the pesto out of the bowl. Store the pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days.


INGREDIENT NOTES: If you don’t have pine nuts, you can use cashews, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.

STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS: The pesto will start to darken in colour the longer it’s exposed to the air, so a trick I like to do is to cover the top of the pesto with cling film (so the cling film is touching the top of the pesto). This creates a barrier between the pesto and the air and will keep it green for longer.

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Category: sauces
  • Method: food processor
  • Cuisine: mediterranean


  • Serving Size: 20g
  • Calories: 137
  • Sugar: 0.3g
  • Sodium: 249mg
  • Fat: 13.5g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 10g
  • Carbohydrates: 1.2g
  • Fiber: 0.2g
  • Protein: 4.1g
  • Cholesterol: 6mg

Keywords: pesto, basil pesto, homemade pesto