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Try this Basil Pesto Recipe for a flavorful, fresh and fast sauce for pasta or chicken! Made with fresh basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil…pesto never disappoints. It’s a fast, uncooked, garlicky, cheesy, basily sauce that is so, so versatile! Whether you’re grilling chicken or tossing it with pasta, this pesto is one you need in your life. For full recipe details, see the printable recipe card down below.
First of all, what is Pesto?
Pesto (also known as Basil Pesto or Pesto Sauce) is a raw sauce from Genoa, traditionally consisting of fresh basil leaves, toasted pine nuts, garlic, salt, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Pesto was and still is typically used as a sauce for pasta, but nowadays it can be used as a versatile sauce for chicken, pasta, salad, and roasted vegetables.
Can I use a different nut in Pesto?
Yes! If you can’t find pine nuts or they aren’t your thing, you can substitute using walnuts, pistachios, almonds or even sunflower seeds.
How to Make Basil Pesto
Toast Pine Nuts
Add pine nuts to a dry pan and toast on medium heat occasionally “shaking” pan until nuts are toasty brown. Be careful not to burn as this can happen very quickly.
Add to Blender
Add the basil, pine nuts, garlic, cheese, salt and pepper to a blender or food processor.
While Blending Add Olive Oil
With the blender on, slowly stream in olive oil to create a thick pesto sauce, about 1/2 cup. Add more if needed to create the consistency desired.
Ways to use this Basil Pesto Recipe
Regardless of how you use this pesto recipe, you are sure to love it! This is our new family favorite recipe that you most definitely need in your arsenal.
- Marinate chicken or pork chops
- Spread over thick slices of toasted french bread or ciabatta for garlic bread
- Add to an antipasto platter
- Drizzle over Burrata cheese and serve as an appetizer (my favorite!)
- Spoon over sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella as a new take on Caprese Salad
- Toss roasted veggies in this sauce
- Brush onto corn on the cob
- Eat it with a SPOON (seriously, I’m not even ashamed)
Dinner Ideas using Basil Pesto:
- Pesto Stuffed Shells
- Baked Pesto Chicken & Rice Casserole
- Creamy Pesto Alfredo Chicken Pasta
- Vegetarian Pesto Quesadillas
- Broccoli Pesto Pasta
- Pesto Pizza
I have found the best way to keep this pesto recipe fresh is by placing plastic wrap directly on the pesto sauce, followed up with the tight-fitting lid for an airtight container. This keeps your pesto a bright green color PLUS it holds that garlic smell in with the pesto instead of all over your fridge.
Once you have your pesto recipe made and stored in their airtight containers, it will last in the freezer for up to 3 months, though don’t be surprised if you never have leftovers because it is so darn tasty on everything!
Simple as that, folks! Now you have a delicious pesto sauce to use however your heart desires! Let me know your favorite dishes to add pesto to. Printable recipe card below. Have a great day, friends! 🙂
Basil Pesto Recipe
- 4 cups fresh basil loosely packed
- 1 clove garlic smashed and peeled
- 1/2 cup pine nuts toasted
- 6 oz parmigiano reggiano cheese cut into chunks
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup olive oil give or take a few tablespoons
- Add pine nuts to a dry pan and toast on medium heat occasionally "shaking" pan until nuts are toasty brown. Be careful not to burn as this can happen very quickly.
- Place all ingredients, except olive oil into a blender or food processor.
- Turn blender on and slowly stream in olive oil until ingredients turn into a thick paste or sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- Use as desired or spoon into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to two weeks.