Homemade Pesto

I love seeing articles come up where chefs give their opinions on what they would make from scratch at home and what they’d just buy at the store.

It makes you feel a whole lot less guilty about deciding that a mix or a pre-made takeaway meal is good enough when the professionals are buying the same thing. And it also gives you some insight on what things are worth spending the time to make at home.

For me, pesto is one of those things I will always make time to make at home.

It doesn’t hurt that I have a basil plant that seems to double in size every day.

I use a lot of basil in my cooking, but I find myself still having to pinch off huge stems so that the lower part of the plant can get enough water and sun.

And the leaves definitely aren’t wasted – some go onto a margherita pizza, some go into caprese of various kinds including these sandwiches and these burgers, and a lot of it becomes pesto!

If you haven’t made your own pesto before, trust me when I say it isn’t like other sauces. There’s no cooking involved, no meticulous stirring to make sure your roux doesn’t break, nothing fancy.

Instead, you just take five simple ingredients – basil leaves, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic cloves, and olive oil – plus some salt and pepper to taste, and throw them in your blender or food processor, and voila! Five minutes or less to a delicious sauce!

Here’s how it’s done.

Homemade Pesto

Makes enough to fill an 8 oz canning jar!

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

How to Make It:

1. Place the basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan in a food processor or blender {I use my Vitamix’s dry container}. Pulse on low until the basil leaves are chopped into fine bits and everything has combined into a coarse mixture.

2. Put the blender on low speed and add the olive oil slowly, letting the blender mix everything together until a thick sauce is formed.

3. Use immediately if you can – the flavor is unreal!

Note: Pesto lasts about a week in the fridge, 3-4 months if you stick it in the freezer! Serve with pasta, baked chicken, or in my Caprese sandwiches!

What do you guys swear by making at home and what will you buy from the store?

2 thoughts on “Homemade Pesto

  1. Every August I make a huge batch of pesto to freeze, quarts of it! I’m down to the last container now that it is May. Love that basil. When freezing, I forego the parmesan and add it when I use the pesto, seems to keep better and longer.

    1. I didn’t think about holding the cheese to add fresh when you’re ready to use it! Sounds like a great way to coax out the best flavor – will try that next time I freeze a batch!

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