Basic Basil Pesto and Variations

Basic Basil Pesto and Variations

Pesto is a great way to use fresh herbs, and it’s great on more than just pasta. Try your pesto on toasted bread with some fresh tomatoes for a delicious summer appetizer.

  • 2 cups basil* leaves, packed
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt

In a food processor, combine basil, nuts, and garlic. Pulse a few times to combine. Then, with the food processor running, add the oil in a steady stream. Open the machine and scrape down the sides, then pulse to combine again. Add the grated cheese and pulse again to combine. Taste the pesto, and add salt to taste.

Makes 1 cup.


  • Walnut or Almond Pesto – Use roughly chopped walnuts or almonds in place of the pine nuts.
  • Any-Herb Pesto– Use the herb of your choice (or a combination) in place of the basil. Parsleymint,chivesmarjoramoreganosage, and rosemary* all work well. Combining strong herbs with parsley makes for a more mild pesto.
  • You can vary the herbs and the nuts at the same time to find the combination you like best.

*All of these herbs can be grown in your own garden.


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