An easy method on How to Make Pesto for pasta, pizza, dips, salads and more! Using my tips and tricks, you will learn how to make homemade pesto from scratch.
Making your own dips and spreads is fun and easy! The best thing is that you know exactly what ingredients goes in them!
The simplest way to make Pesto is in your food processor!
Flat breads, pasta sauce, sandwich spreads are perfect ways to use pesto!
How do you make pesto from scratch?
It is very easy to make Pesto from scratch!
We gather our ingredients, add them to the food processor and blitz to combine, it really is that simple!
Throw your mortar and pestle away, whip out your food processor and take a load off!
Once the ingredients are combined, we use a teaspoon to taste the pesto, then add lemon juice until the flavour is just right!
What is pesto made of?
Pesto is made of herbs, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil, nuts and lemon juice.
Common herbs used to make pesto are basil, parsley, coriander and kale. You can also use vegetables like spinach and rocket (arugula) to make pesto.
Does Pesto have nuts in it?
Yes, most pesto recipes have nuts in them. It is not essential though if you have an allergy!
If you don't have pine nuts, there is no need to run out and buy them, you can simply substitute your favourite nut!
What is the difference between red and green pesto?
Green Pesto recipes are the ones that use green herbs (such as basil and arugula). Red Pesto recipes are the ones that use red vegetables (such as sun-dried tomatoes and bell peppers (capsicums) resulting in the vibrant colours.
For vegan pesto, use a substitute for the parmesan cheese, such as nutritional yeast!
What do you eat pesto with?
Pesto is so versatile that you can eat it with practically anything! Here are some creative uses for pesto:
- stir through your favourite pasta
- use as a pizza sauce
- serve with chicken or fish
- spread on flatbreads
- serve as a dip
- use as a salad dressing
- on a grilled cheese sandwich
You can also use pesto as a sauce, by substituting it for the cream in pasta sauces, such as in the Smoked Salmon Spaghetti recipe.
Cook some bacon and dish up the Bacon Pesto Pasta for a change to traditional spaghetti bolognese.
Once you have made your pesto, store it in a sealed jar in the fridge and delight yourself with the variety of uses you find for it!
How do you serve Pesto with Pasta
Once you have tried homemade pesto, you will want to try it with everything! To serve Pesto with Pasta is a great option.
Simply cook your pasta, spoon in a couple of tablespoons of pesto and then stir to combine as it reheats.
You can also do what I did with the Pesto Penne recipe and add a walnut crumb for added crunch and texture!
Basic Pesto ingredients
We use simple, easy to find ingredients to make pesto. The photo below shows you what you need:
For homemade pesto, the recipe will call for:
- basil leaves
- olive oil
- parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast for vegan option)
- cashews (or your favourite nut)
- lemon juice
To avoid bitter pesto, we use the lemon juice after we have combined the rest of the ingredients. We simple taste, add lemon juice and adjust as needed
How to make Pesto
The photos below are step by step showing you how to make pesto in the food processor:
- Add herbs such as basil or arugula to food processor bowl (Photo 1)
- Add parmesan cheese (Photo 2)
- Garlic (Photo 3)
- Next add either pine nuts, cashews, or walnuts (Photo 4)
If you want, you can toast the nuts in a pan on the stove for a couple of minutes before adding them. This enhances the flavour!
- Next add your olive oil (shown in photo 5)
- Then all of the ingredients will be ready to blitz (shown in photo 6)
- Blitz for less than 10 secs to combine (shown in photo 7)
- Taste the pesto, add a little lemon juice and taste again (shown in photo 8)
The acidic taste of the lemon juice cuts through any bitterness and the flavours continue to develop delightfully the more they sit with each other.
If you have a look at the photos above you will see what your pesto will look like before you blitz it and after you blitz it. The texture is consistent and a little chunky!
Pesto making quick info:
About the recipe:
- Most pesto's only need 6 ingredients to make!
- Bottled lemon juice is totally fine!
- You can toast the nuts before adding them to the mix
- You can use your favourite nut variety
FAQs about Pesto
- Most pestos are vegetarian!
- You only need to blitz for 10 seconds (or less)
- The pesto can be made ahead of time
- You can freeze the pesto
- The pesto will last for 1 week in the fridge
- You will get approx 1 cup of pesto from the ingredients
Your quick questions answered:
- Pesto is quick and easy!
- Store it in the fridge in a sealed jar
- Or freeze for up to 3 months
- Both green and red pesto's use the same basic method
- Use the standard inner blade on the food processor (not the slice plate)
These tips are to help you master pesto making each time you make it::
- Add all of the ingredients except the lemon juice to the food processor
- Blitz for 5 seconds, then 5 more if not combined consistently
- After blitzing, taste the pesto, then add lemon juice till the flavours are balanced and not bitter!
- Freeze the pesto and defrost as needed!
Switch out the traditional tomato or BBQ sauce and use your own homemade pesto for a pizza sauce!!
Throw some Pita Chips in the oven with a little salt and your favourite herb, them pop them on a plate with pesto for an easy dip!
Red Pesto or Green, which will be your favourite! There is no limit to the variety of taste and textures you can come up with and you will be spreading it on EVERYTHING!
Try these easy homemade dips and spreads:
- Chicken Liver Pate
- Easy Green Olive Tapenade
- Grazing Platter (to feed a crowd)
- Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade
- Olive Tapenade
For Meatless Monday, whip up a Basil Pesto or Rocket Pesto and try the Arugula Pesto Pasta!
How to Make Pesto
- Food processor
- Glass jar
How to Make Pesto
- 2 cup basil leaves Note 1
- ½ cup pine nuts Note 2
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese Note 3
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic skin peeled and end cut off
How to Make Pesto
- Combine all ingredients except the lemon juice in the food processor with standard blade. Blitz for 5 seconds, then another 5 till consistently combined.
- Taste, then add lemon juice as desired
- Stir in a glass jar with lid for up to 1 week in the fridge
- Note 1 Pull the leaves off the basil stems and add to a bowl. Don't worry if a little bit of stem gets into the mix, but for the majority, we are looking for the leaves not the stem.
- Note 2 Use your favourite nuts! Pine nuts, cashews, walnuts all work well for Pesto!
- Note 3 Use nutrional yeast for a vegan option.
Once you have made your own pesto, you are going to be looking left, right and centre for places to put it!
The texture, the simplicity and the speed ensure homemade pesto making is quick and easy!
Grab the ingredients, your food processor and give this a whirl, I think you will love the fuss free nature of the recipe.
Let me know if you have any questions, I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below.