Our homemade pesto is an easy recipe is filled with the flavors of summer! Basil Pesto is bursting with delicious extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil leaves from my garden, Parmesan cheese for texture and saltiness, lemon juice and zest for a bright note and the unexpected nuttiness of toasted almonds.
Homemade Pesto Recipe
When summer is in full swing the sweet aroma of fresh basil fills the air. Basil plants are growing like crazy now and the timing is perfect to make a fresh Basil Pesto Recipe.
Our easy recipe is quite typical except that it's a pesto without pine nuts. I love toasting up sliced almonds for a fresh, and less expensive option whenever I make this Italian herb sauce. And I love the flavor the toasted almonds lend to the pesto too.
Are almonds healthy for you?
Yes, almonds are healthy for you because they provide:
- lots of healthy fats
- vitamin E
What are the health benefits of almonds?
Almonds have been known to:
- lower blood sugar levels
- reduce blood pressure
- lower cholesterol levels
- can also promote weight loss
- can reduce hunger
Those are just some of the many reasons why I love to use almonds in my pesto recipe. And because they just taste so darn good especially when they're toasted!
And, of course, in addition to the unexpected almond, there are the typical pesto ingredients of extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil leaves from my garden, Parmesan cheese for texture and saltiness and lemon juice and zest to lend a bright note.
Learn all about pesto, what does pesto taste like, how to make it, store it and even freeze it, along with lots more pesto recipes!
What do I put pesto on?
I love that pesto is so versatile. Did you know that it can be used in so many ways? You can:
- Toss with hot pasta
- Toss with vegetables
- Toss in a pasta salad
- Toss in a potato salad
- Add to salad dressing
- Add to dips
- Use as a dipping sauce
- Spread on a sandwich or toast
- Dollop on baked potatoes
- Stir into soup
- Use as a pizza sauce
- Top cooked chicken, beef, pork or seafood
- Stir into scrambled eggs
- Stir into mayonnaise, sour cream or Greek yogurt
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How To Store Pesto
Pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
It’s best if you cover the surface of the pesto directly with plastic wrap before sealing the container. This prevents air from discoloring the pesto.
I love using mason jars to store my pesto.
Can I Freeze Pesto?
Pesto can also be frozen for up to 6 months. I love to freeze pesto in ice cube trays and then transfer to plastic freezer bags. The ice cube size is great for individual servings or to stir into soups, stews, sauces or salad dressings for extra flavor! Pesto can also be frozen in small containers.
Recipes With Pesto
When you have pesto on hand you'll want to give these recipes a try! Because, we all know that, everything tastes better with fresh pesto!
Have you tried pesto on pizza yet? Grilled Pesto Caprese Naan Pizza, made with the flavors of Caprese, the beloved combination of mozzarella, tomato and basil with balsamic vinegar, becomes an easy Meatless Monday meal or fabulous appetizer!
The perfect blend of pesto, mozzarella and sundried tomatoes fill every nook and cranny of this baked bread appetizer, Cheesy Pesto Pull-Apart Bread!
Or fire up the grill for Grilled Tuscan Chicken & Kale Pesto. Grill up these Tuscan flavored chicken breasts then top with fresh mozzarella and kale pesto for your al fresco dining enjoyment. Pesto is absolutely wonderful just tossed with hot pasta but just as good in a pasta served warm or chilled with lots of added deliciousness.
Make Pesto Florentine Campanelle Pasta and toss pasta with pesto, tomatoes, bocconcini and Parmesan, just 5 ingredients, for a bowl full of fresh summertime flavors!
And an absolute favorite recipe of mine, Balsamic Portobellos Caprese will make a pesto lover out of everyone. Portobello mushrooms flavored with a balsamic marinade are grilled and then topped with fresh mozzarella, pesto, campari tomato slices and fresh basil leaves. An easy grilling recipe that's perfect for Meatless Monday in the summer!
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- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbs. lemon juice
- 2 cups basil leaves
- ¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
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- Combine olive oil, lemon juice, basil leaves, almonds, Parmesan, garlic, lemon zest and kosher salt in a blender or food processor. If using a blender, be sure to put the olive oil and lemon juice in first for easy blending. Puree or process until blended.
- Toss pesto with hot pasta, or serve over cooked chicken, fish or beef. Also delicious with vegetables, in a pasta salad or potato salad and as a dipping sauce.
You do realize I love pesto!! I always bought the one at Costco.. but now.. you've got me wanting to make my own.. Saving this so I make it
I’m so happy to hear this Jamala! Pesto is so easy to make! Thanks for stopping by Swirls! From one Jersey girl to another, savor the moment, Gwynn