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Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe

Wondering what to do with your plentiful basil harvest? Homemade pesto is one of the best ways to enjoy a bounty of fresh basil. This basil pesto recipe uses pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan or Romano cheese, and extra virgin olive oil. Make and enjoy in just 15 minutes!


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (substitute half spinach)

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (or substitute chopped walnuts)

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste


  • Place the basil leaves and pine nuts (and lemon juice) into the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times.

  • Add the garlic and Parmesan or Romano cheese and pulse several times more. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.

  • Slowly pour in the olive oil while the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady small stream. Adding the olive oil slowly while the processor is running will help it emulsify and help keep the olive oil from separating. Occasionally, stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor.

  • Season the pesto sauce by adding salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Toss with pasta for a quick sauce, dollop over baked potatoes, or spread onto crackers or toasted slices of bread.

  • Preparation time: 15 minutes

  • Cook time: 0 minutes

  • Total time: 15 minutes

  • Total servings: 1 cup


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