Basil Pesto

12 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes

Basil Pesto is made with toasted pine nuts, basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese and olive oil in two minutes, perfect for using up summer basil.

Basil Pesto is perfect for a quick pasta DinnerPesto Shrimp or even a quick appetizer with crostini, ricotta and balsamic glaze!

Basil Pesto Ingredients blended in food processor

Pesto is made with olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and parmesan cheese with lots of fresh basil. Pesto is such an easy “recipe” it almost doesn’t even qualify as one. You could even eyeball the ingredients until it looks like it works and add a bit of extra olive oil along with any other ingredients like meat or chicken or pasta.

When using pesto with pasta, it’s really important that you don’t rinse your pasta before adding the pesto to it. The added water to the pasta would not mix with the olive oil in the pesto. Top the pasta with additional Parmesan and even additional toasted pine nuts before serving.

One of the most flavorful pasta mix-ins with pesto is Roasted Garlic Tomatoes. Add in some fresh mozzarella too and you’ve got a great dinner or served cold a great pasta salad!

You’ll love enjoying this pesto served with your favorite proteins like shrimp, chicken, salmon or pork with Garlic BreadOlive Garden Italian Salad, and Rainbow Roasted Vegetables.

Basil Pesto Ingredients in food processor

How to Use Homemade Basil Pesto

  • Add to pizza instead of Marinara Sauce or even just drizzle on top of classic pizza recipes.
  • Add to cream cheese or ricotta cheese as a dip.
  • Use as a spread on your favorite sandwiches.
  • Add to an omelette or even top your Eggs Benedict with pesto instead of hollandaise.
  • Add to roasted vegetables or any of your favorite grilled meats.
  • Add to bread as a dipping sauce or instead of butter.

Shrimp Pesto Pasta with Basil Pesto cooked shrimp in skillet

Pesto with Walnuts

Some people have allergies or aversions to pine nuts that are toasted and used in a classic pesto recipe. If you’d prefer to use walnuts just swap out the pine nuts for an equal amount of walnuts.

You can also toast the walnuts before adding them to a recipe which doesn’t take long at all. Place the walnuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes then let cool before adding to the pesto mixture (otherwise you will melt the parmesan cheese and wilt the basil).

How to Store Basil Pesto

  • Serve: Refrigerate pesto at room temperature after 2 hours.
  • Store: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • Freeze: Add the pesto with a bit more olive oil over it in a silicone ice cube tray or in a large ziploc bag and make sure to squeeze out all the air before closing the bag and freezing. When ready to cook just defrost fully before using. Try not to cook pesto for too long as the flavor is in the freshness.

Shrimp Pesto Pasta with Basil Pesto cooked shrimp in bowl with pasta and parmesan cheese

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Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto is made with toasted pine nuts, basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese and olive oil in two minutes, perfect for using up summer basil.
Yield 12 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Course Dip, Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cups fresh basil , packed tightly
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil


  • Add the pine nuts to a small pan on medium heat and let toast until you can just smell the pine nuts.
  • Add all the ingredients to a small food processor until smooth.


Calories: 126kcal | Protein: 2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 95mg | Potassium: 28mg | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 0.3mg

Basil Pesto Collage

Photos used in a previous version of this post.


Basil Pesto

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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