I keep this easy pesto recipe on hand at all times. Basil pesto adds flavor to a multitude of dishes. Use it on everything from pasta to salad. Plus, it freezes beautifully so you can never make too much.
3cupsbasil, fresh basil, leaves and tender stems only
Prepare the basil by gently pulling off the leaves and tender stems, you'll wnat about 3 cups.
PRO TIP: Turn on the food processor and drop the garlic cloves through the shoot with the machine running. This is just a cool trick I learned to make sure that there are no large chunks of garlic anywhere in your sauce.
Add the basil, the grated cheese, the nuts, the lemon juice, and the seasonings to the food processor and process until the mixture is finely pureed. Scrape down the sides once and the process one more time.
Turn the food processor on and drizzle the olive oil into the pest while the machine is running. Scrape down the sides once and the process one more time.
Recipe Variations Substitute one or more ingredients for the basil. You can also swap out the cheese or nuts for different varieties to create different flavored pesto.
Beet Pesto. 2 to 3 Beets + 2 tablespoons of chives + 1 tablespoon pomegranate vinegar.
Carrot Pesto. 2 to 3 cups of raw or roasted carrots + 2 tablespoons fresh oregano + goat cheese.
Kale Pesto. 3 cups of Lacinato or baby kale.
Mint Pesto. 1 cup of Mint + lemon zest from 2 lemons.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto. Use 1 cup of rehydrated sundried tomatoes + 2 cups of fresh basil.
Vegan Pesto Recipe. Use nutritional yeast in place of the parmesan cheese.
Pizza. Add a few tablespoons of pesto instead of marinara sauce to your next homemade pizza, or simply add a few dollops on top of your favorite pizza.
Chicken pesto recipe made by using a few tablespoons of this easy pesto recipe, a few tablespoons of oil, extra lemon juice to marinate the chicken. Grill, pan-fry, or bake the pesto chicken.
Salmon topped with pesto. Broil the salmon with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil. Add a dollop of pesto to the top or each piece of fish.
Roasted vegetables. Roasted potatoes, zucchini, red bell peppers, and eggplant are all a perfect match for pesto. Simply add a few dollops to your next batch of roasted veggies.
Basil pesto aoili can be made by adding a tablespoon of pesto (or more to taste) to a half-cup of olive oil. Slather onto a sandwich or burger.
Pesto salad dressing. Use a quarter cup of homemade pesto sauce, then add one-quarter cup of olive oil + 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or champagne vinegar. Whisk and drizzle over your green salad or mix into a pasta salad.
Compound butter with pesto. Bring one stick of butter to room temperature. Mix in 1 to 2 tablespoons of basil pesto. Place the mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap and then roll it into a log. Re chill then serve with baked chicken or roasted potatoes.
Freeze it in ice cube trays and then store in a freezer bag until you need to add flavor to pasta dishes or soup recipes.