This fresh and flavorful Homemade Pesto Sauce takes 5 minutes to make and is the perfect addition to your favorite summer dishes!
Who doesn’t love fresh Italian food? Sit me down at a table with homemade lasagna, stuffed shells, fresh bread, and insalata and I might think I died and went to heaven. Sadly, most of us don’t have the time required to devote to truly fresh, homemade Italian dinners. Luckily, we can all find the time to make this game-changing Homemade Pesto Sauce.
HOMEMADE PESTO SAUCE
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This recipe pairs perfectly with one of my family’s favorite meals, the 30-Minute Caprese Chicken Bake. I love when a meal tastes like I spent hours in the kitchen when the reality is that I spent less than an hour. Everyone that I have shared this recipe with swears they will never buy pre-made pesto again!
WHAT IS PESTO SAUCE?
Pesto is a vibrant green sauce consisting of crushed basil, garlic, pine nuts, cheese, and olive oil. This Italian sauce actually translates to “crushed” and was traditionally made with a mortar and pestle. If you don’t happen to have a food processor on hand, you can definitely go old school and make this delicious sauce the old-fashioned way!
PESTO SAUCE INGREDIENTS
Basil- You will need 2 firmly packed cups of fresh basil for this pesto sauce recipe.
Garlic- I love using freshly peeled garlic, but if you have minced garlic on hand it works just as well.
Pine Nuts- Pesto sauce is traditionally made with pine nuts, but if you prefer you can pretty much substitute any other type of nut! I have personally made or sampled pesto with cashews, macadamia nuts, and almonds but the options don’t stop there!
Parmesan- There is no substitute for freshly grated parmesan when it comes to the most authentic flavor.
As a variation on this delicious recipe, you can add about 1 cup of heavy cream and turn this into a delectable pesto cream sauce!
HOW TO MAKE PESTO SAUCE
All you need to make the best Homemade Pesto Sauce is 5 minutes, a food processor, and some fresh ingredients!
- First, add basil, garlic, and pine nuts to a food processor and blend the ingredients until they’re thoroughly chopped.
- Next, add in 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper and 1/2 cup of olive oil and continue to process the pesto sauce.
- Slowly drizzle in the remaining olive oil.
- Now pulse in the cheese and add salt and pepper to taste if needed.
- Store the finished sauce in an airtight container in the fridge.
CAN YOU FREEZE PESTO SAUCE?
This homemade sauce will last for up to 5 days in the fridge in an airtight container. If you don’t think you’ll be able to use the pesto in that time frame you can freeze it instead!
You can freeze basil pesto sauce in an airtight freezer bag or container. The sauce will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.
A great trick is to freeze the sauce into an ice cube tray first and then transfer the sauce cubes to a zip-lock! This way you have pre-measured sauce cubes that you can take out and thaw as needed. I love to use the cubes as an easy pesto pizza sauce when I’m looking for a simple dinner option.
TRY THESE OTHER PESTO FAVORITES
- Grilled Pesto Chicken Sandwiches
- Cheesy Pesto Stuffed Tomatoes
- Quick Pesto and Shrimp Pasta
- Pesto Pasta Salad
- Pesto Bruschetta
- More SIDE recipes…
TOOLS USED TO MAKE THIS BASIL PESTO SAUCE
Food Processor: This is hands down the best investment you will ever make in your kitchen!
Ice Cube Tray: This tray is perfectly portioned to freeze your leftover sauce and is easy to clean after.
*This post originally posted on 06/14/2015.
- 2 cups basil leaves should be firmly packed in measuring cup
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt or more to taste
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 Parmesan cheese grated
- add basil, garlic and pine nuts to a food processor and blend until roughly chopped
- add in 1/2 tsp of salt, the pepper and 1/2 cup of the olive oil and process again
- slowly drizzle in the remaining oil
- pulse in the cheese then taste for salt and pepper, adding more if it needs it.
- store in an air tight container in the fridge