This 4-ingredient fresh basil pesto recipe is perfect for dips, pastas, salads, soups, food bowls, toasts, and crackers. I might just add a dash of it to every dish! Love how the different flavors play together in this beautiful no-cook pesto sauce. Ready in 5 mins, it stays good in the fridge for up to a week.
Classic basil pesto is a blend of fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper, and olive oil. To keep the pesto vegan, I don’t use any cheese. I actually like it that way. It is simple, easy, and stays for longer when there is no cheese in the recipe.
I don’t have a lot of space for gardening, but the window sill provides a good space to grow herbs and my basil is flourishing! Sometimes I don’t want to pluck the leaves fearing it might thin it down but then you have to pluck the leaves for it grow further. That’s how we ended up with a jar full of pesto last weekend and it was all gone by Wednesday.
These days pesto is made from different combinations of herbs, greens, and nuts like mint and almond pesto or carrot greens pesto. But the classic combination of basil and pine nuts is still the favorite. I simply blend them all together in a chopper jar and store it in an air-tight container. I like a little grainy consistency so the chopper jar works well. For a very smooth pesto sauce, use the blender jar.
In the school garden, we actually make the pesto using mortar and pestle, which is the way pesto was traditionally made! Pesto comes from the Italian word for ‘pounded‘.
I hope you try this easy recipe. Fresh pesto adds a delicious flavor to so many dishes and it is great to have some in the fridge all the time!
How to make fresh basil pesto without cheese
Ingredients (1cup = 240ml; 1tbsp = 15ml; 1tsp = 5ml)
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves stems removed
- 1-2 cloves garlic Smash with knife, peel and add whole
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- ¼ cup Olive oil extra virgin
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Add basil, garlic, pine nuts, salt, and pepper to a chopper jar. Blend until they are finely chopped.
- Scrape the sides add olive oil and blend again to combine. Reserve about ½ tbsp of olive oil to add to pesto while storing*.
- Adjust for seasoning and empty into a bowl for serving or jar to store.
- Use the stems of basil in cooking vegetable stock
- *To store basil pesto, choose the smallest possible glass jar with a small air-tight lid and add a tbsp of olive oil on top as a layer. This would prevent oxidation of basil leaves.
- Fresh home-made pesto will stay good in the fridge for a week. The pesto might turn slightly darker but that’s okay.
Different ways to use Fresh Basil Pesto:
- Dip: Mix a little basil pesto into regular dips like yogurt, sour cream, or even guacamole.
- Pasta & Soups: For a simple meal, toss cooked pasta with basil pesto. Or add basil pesto to your regular pasta sauce or to Italian-style soups like Minestrone.
- Toasts & Pizzas: Spread on toasts, pizzas, and bruschetta for an easy snack. The pesto will be a great addition to this simple tomato toast.
- Salads & Food Bowls: Use as a dressing for salads and one-bowl meals like this quinoa buddha bowl.
- Rub: Use it as a rub for roast vegetables.
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