Basic Pesto

I love pesto! It is so simple, versatile and full of flavor. I rely on it alot in the summer because it’s meant to be served cold or at room temperature. There seems to be endless ways to use pesto. It definitely works for me!


Because of this love of pesto I have, I’ve tried to grow basil for the past few summers. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much luck with it. I always believed basil was an easy herb to grow, but it just isn’t for me. I tend to it and use it, but yet it always seems to flower and stop producing leaves on me. I guess I’m not as diligent as I need to be. If any of you have some tips on growing basil for me, I’d definitely love to hear them!


Basic Pesto

  • 3 c. fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 c. pine nuts or diced walnuts, optional
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/3 – 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1 t. each salt and pepper, plus more to taste, if needed
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a blender or food proccesor, blend/pulse the basil leaves, optional pine nuts or walnuts and garlic. Drizzle in 1/3 c. olive oil while continuing to process. Add remaining olive oil as needed to achieve desired consistency. Add salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.

I tend to leave out the nuts because the pesto is much more frugal that way. It still tastes just as delicious!

Tip: If you have extra pesto, freeze in an ice cube tray. The taste stays the same but the consistency loses a little something in the process. So the pesto cubes are perfect to add to marinara sauce or soups in the winter time.

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11 thoughts on “Basic Pesto

  1. I am SO with you on both your love of pesto and on your basil-growing woes. I keep trying to grow enough basil to make my own pesto but never get more than a few leaves from each plant. My best “tip” is really kind of cheating; a couple years ago I bought a beautiful basil plant from Trader Joe’s for $2.99. I don’t know how they did it, but that plant was absolutely full of beautiful basil leaves (but still not enough to make my own pesto :o). I’m not giving up, though. This year we have about six basil plants going, and I’m optimistic. I’m going to print out your recipe, in the hopes I get enough production to actually make it. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I have a nut allergy, and thus, have never tasted pesto. I’ve always wanted to make it, but thought I needed some kind of nut — this is wonderful! I can’t wait to try it.

  3. I grow basil every summer and lots of it! I make lots of pesto at once, put it in ice cube trays, freeze it, then bag it up! It last all winter! When I dont know what to make I just pop a few pesto cubes into the microwave, cook pasta and voila!

    So you’re jealous right? I live in ATL and I know my basil loves the hot sunny weather. Maybe its not in a hot sunny enough spot or maybe its not hot and sunny enough where you live? Not sure… but buy the plants! They are cheap and will grow much better than planting seeds. You will have lots of basil a lot faster!

    And don’t let the flowers grow! You gotta trim it before the flowers grow b/c it’s not good for the leaves.

    Good luck! Let me know if this helps!

  4. I grow TONS of basil every summer and freeze it for the winter months.

    Basil needs plenty of sunlight. Also, remember that as soon as leaves mature, pluck them off. The more you pluck, the more it will grow. I let mine flower, and as the seeds dry out, I just press them into the dirt around the plant. Basil does not have deep roots. You can put several plants in one pot. Just about the time that the new seeds have sprouted and started growing into good size plants (about six inches tall or so), the old one will start to die out. This way, they stay in a continuous cycle, and I always have plants ready to be plucked. Miracle Gro once a week, and water with any leftover coffee once or twice a week. Basil plants love coffee!

  5. I love pesto, too, and there’s one in particular that I make. It’s based on a recipe by Giada DeLaurentis. It’s super simple…just 3 cloves of garlic, 2/3 of a bag of baby spinach, 4oz(half a brick) of cream cheese, then salt and pepper to taste. I usually add a ladle full of pasta water as well. That’s it! I just whirl it in the food processor and then pour it on my penne or rotini. It also makes a great pesto for making green pizza.

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