Easy Homemade Basil Pesto

Our herb garden is in full bloom right now, so it is PESTO time! I absolutely LOVE Pesto on just about anything. It can be spread on toast, crostini, over fish, chicken or steak before cooking (to get a great crust) or after cooking, tossed with pasta or veggies, use it as a dip….there are endless ways to use it.  Tonight we spread it over our Italian-Style Turkey Burger Sliders (pictures included) which gave it that extra punch of flavor we just love. Plus adding this Pesto any of your food gives you a really great pop of flavor without having to use more salt, butter, mayo and other fatty condiments which we love but are not so good for our heart or waistline.

We did three batches today, but I’m sure more will be coming soon as our crop continues to flourish. First we made a basic Basil Pesto.  From this, you can add many different flavors to make it your own. Secondly, we made a Basil-Lemon Pesto which had a great bite of brightness with the acidity that I cannot wait to try on fish.  Thirdly, we made a Spicy Basil Pesto (featured photo) that we used tonight on our Italian Turkey Burger Sliders. I’m telling you, it took all the restraint I had not to eat the whole bowl just by itself. (variations of these pestos are at bottom in NOTES section).

With this recipe you can drizzle a layer of Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the top then store it in an airtight container or small mason jar in the fridge for about a week until ready to use. If you want to freeze it for later, just be sure to omit the cheese until you have defrosted it to use it (the cheese will make it rancid when frozen with it).  Place the prepared pesto in an ice cube tray until frozen, then transfer to freezer bag and use as needed. Hope you all enjoy this easy recipe!

Easy Homemade Basil Pesto

Print Recipe
Serves: about 3/4 cup Cooking Time: 10 minutes


  • 2 Cups packed fresh Basil Leaves, washed and dried well
  • 2 Tbsp Pine Nuts, toasted slightly (just a few min in saute pan on med heat)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, peeled
  • 1/4-1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (depends on consistency you want)
  • 2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste



In a food processor (or blender) combine the basil, garlic and toasted pine nuts and pulse until coarsely chopped, scraping sides down as needed.


While blending on low speed, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until smooth consistency.


Add the cheese, season with a few pinches of salt and several grinds of black pepper.


Blend until combined.


Use immediately, or transfer to airtight container or jar, drizzle a layer of olive oil on top and stick in fridge for up to one week.


Also can be frozen but omit cheese and add when defrosted and ready to use.


Lemon-Basil Pesto: Add the zest of one lemon along with its juice when adding the cheese. Spicy Basil Pesto: Add 1/8-1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes, according to your heat level and enjoyment.