This classic basil pesto sauce recipe can elevate any pasta, sandwich, or soup! And it’s so easy to make, you may never purchase store-bought again.
Surely I can’t be the only one who dreams about pesto sauce. Ok, maybe I’m a weirdo.
I made this chicken dish again for dinner the other night, and for some reason I bought way too much basil. By the looks of it, you’d think I was feeding a crowd. But no. So, I put it to good use by whipping up a batch of pesto sauce.
No worries, though. We go through this pesto sauce so fast in my house. My kids love it just as much as red sauce.
What Makes This Pesto Sauce So Great
- It’s a crazy simple recipe. With only 6 ingredients, it comes together in about 10 minutes.
- This pesto sauce can keep for quite a while – up to 1 month in the freezer!
- It’s nutty and creamy and really enhances any dish you put it on.
Tips for this Pesto Recipe
- You don’t HAVE to toast the pine nuts but it does add a depth of flavor.
- Grab a spatula and scrape any ingredients that may get stuck a bit in the food processor. Just stop mixing things and redistribute the pesto in the bowl.
- Don’t pour the oil too fast – you want a nice slow drizzle to create an emulsion.
- Switch up the nuts! Try using almonds or walnuts in place of the pine nuts.
- Try a different cheese! Pecorino, Romano, or Asiago could also work in place of the Parmesan.
- All out of basil? Try using an equal amount of fresh parsley or cilantro (though this will change the taste of the pesto quite a bit).
12 Great Ways to use Pesto Sauce beyond pasta
- Spread on a sandwich
- whisk into a vinaigrette
- spread on corn on the cob
- use as a pizza dough sauce
- dollop on baked potatoes
- add to cornbread batter
- use as a marinade
- add to scrambled eggs
- add to potato salad
- mash into herb butter
- whisk into soup
- top on burgers
I also often mix it with a little mayonnaise as a sandwich spread, too (<< don’t knock it ’til you try it!)
Other pasta sauce recipes we love!
How To Make This Classic Pesto Sauce
Classic Basil Pesto
- 4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic , chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Place all of the ingredients (except the olive oil) in the bowl of a food processor. Process until pureed.
- With the machine running, gradually pour in the olive oil in a steady stream, to emulsify.
- That’s it! Taste and adjust the seasoning, if desired.
- You don't have to toast the pine nuts, but toasting them does add a depth of flavor.
- Refrigerate any leftover pesto up to 5 days or 1 month in the freezer.
- For uses, variations, and substitutions, please refer to the full article.