Time Required: 10 minutes


Homemade pesto is infinitely superior to any store-bought pesto. Fight me.

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Exactly how much of each ingredient you use in this recipe will depend on just how much basil you have, as well as on personal taste and consistency preferences, so play around with the ratios as you see fit!

This recipe makes roughly 1 ½ cups of pesto. Feel free to cut this recipe in half or multiply it depending on how much pesto you want to make.

You can replace some or all of the basil in this recipe for other leafy green vegetables or herbs (spinach, kale, and cilantro are good examples here) if you want a different flavor profile in your pesto.



  • 1.5-2 packed cups of fresh basil (you need lots of basil)
  • ~½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 tbsp pine nuts
  • 3 large garlic cloves (or 4 smaller cloves)
  • ~¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste (ideally coarsely ground)


  1. Place the pine nuts in a small pan and sauté over high heat, tossing or stirring frequently, until they are golden brown, toasty, and fragrant. Remove from the pan and allow to cool to roughly room temperature.
  2. Rinse your basil in cold water, then dry it thoroughly and add it to a food processor.
  3. Add the olive oil, garlic cloves, parmesan, and toasted pine nuts to the food processor, then squeeze in the juice of your lemon half and sprinkle in a bit of salt and pepper.
  4. Attach the lid of the food processor and pulse until the ingredients are just evenly combined. Remove the lid, scrape down the sides of the food processor using a spoon or small rubber spatula to ensure everything is getting incorporated, then replace the lid and continue pulsing with the food processor (using longer pulses this time, around 5-10 seconds each) until everything is well combined, no large bits of any ingredients remain, and the texture is to your liking (do not mix for too long, or your pesto will become watery).
  5. Pour the pesto into a small bowl, taste it, and make any necessary adjustments. More specifically:
  6. If your pesto is too runny, stir in additional grated parmesan cheese to thicken it.
  7. If your pesto is too thick, stir in additional olive oil to thin it out.
  8. Add salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice to taste.
  9. Use immediately in any recipes that call for pesto! To store any leftover pesto, place it in the smallest container it will fit in that has an airtight lid, cover it with plastic wrap (pressing the plastic wrap down onto the surface of the pesto so no air touches the pesto), then place the lid on the container and store it in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for 6-9 months. Stir the pesto thoroughly before each use, as it will naturally separate over time.