Recipe: $3.00 | Per Serving: $0.34 | Yield: 1.25 Cups/9 servings
This is your easy, basic, simple, at-home basil pesto recipe.
I am a fiend for basil. And while store-bought pesto can be really good, it can also be really disappointing, as I’ve learned. Homemade pesto, on the other hand, is pretty much always amazing.
Here in Japan I’ve tried several different brands of pesto/salsa verde/salsa basilico. This little sauce goes by many names here in the Far East. The international/gourmet store nearby always has one or two brands, but I haven’t been truly in love with any of them. So, when I saw basil plants for sale outside the grocery store for 100 yen (82 cents!) during the summer, obviously I bought one. (In retrospect, I should have bought 2. Or 4.)
Our little guy didn’t get crazy big as we were hoping, but he grew and he prospered. And since summer is truly over, I figured now was the time to go ahead and pick as many leaves as I needed for a big ‘ol batch of pesto. Our plant is looking very very sad.
I never use pine nuts in my pesto because they’re SO expensive. Instead, I usually use walnuts. I’ve also used almonds and sunflower seeds with great success. Sometimes I make paleo pesto without cheese, sometimes I make kale pesto with cheese. There are loads of different ways to make pesto, but this is my basic recipe. I often combine basil with a cheaper green – like mizuna, spinach, or arugula – but feel free to go 100% basil.
If you’re making this in a blender – I recommend blanching the greens first. Drain the excess water, and then blend. Much easier to blend in a blender that way! (Or, you could get yourself an awesome food processor…or NINJA processor/blender combo! Which I love!)Print
- 1 cup packed basil
- 1 cup packed greens or other herbs like arugula, mizuna, kale, parsley (or you can use ALL basil!)
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice (optional – but I love it)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional – can leave it out or sub with pecorino romano/grana padano, etc.)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- Pulse greens in your food processor until they’re mostly broken up. Add the walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, cheese, and salt, and process until well combined.
- Add the ground pepper, then pour in half the olive oil and blend briefly. Scrape the sides and add the remaining olive oil and pulse again just until combined.
- Serve and enjoy!
Olive oil can take on a bitter or metallic taste when blended at high speeds/temperatures. Most recipes tell you to slowly pour in the oil while processing on low. This isn’t an option with my processor, so I just blend briefly in two batches and I never have any problems!