The Best 5-Minute Basil Pesto Recipe
A delicious and easy-to-make homemade pesto recipe that will leave your taste buds tingling. This is the best basil pesto recipe that is not only mouth-wateringly delicious but only takes 5 minutes to make. With a few simple ingredients and a food processor, you can whip up a batch of this versatile homemade pesto and serve it on pasta, sandwiches, vegetables and more!
There’s nothing like a good homemade sauce, and this homemade basil pesto is like a gift from the heavens. I can never get enough of the bright green colour and punchy garlic-basil flavour.
Some of my favourite homemade sauces are this basil pesto, my 5-Minute Extra Creamy Homemade Tzatziki, and my 5-Minute Maple Balsamic Dressing.
Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner, this recipe is perfect for anyone looking for a quick and easy way to add some flavour to their meals.
It takes 5 minutes to make and uses a handful of simple and nourishing ingredients. This recipe is also naturally gluten-free and can easily be made vegan.
So let’s dive in and learn how to make the best basil pesto recipe you’ve ever tasted!
What is Pesto Anyways?
Basil pesto is a traditional Italian sauce made from fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. The ingredients are blended together to create a smooth, vibrant green sauce that just *bursts* with flavour.
Pesto is typically used as a pasta sauce, but it can also be used as a topping for pizza, a dip for bread or vegetables, or as a marinade for meats or vegetables. In this recipe, we use walnuts instead of pine nuts, and you can use other nuts or seeds as well.
I use this basil pesto recipe for my Pesto Caprese Pasta Salad, as a sauce on my Sheet Pan Pesto Chicken & Potatoes, and on my Pesto Eggs & Potato Skillet.
Homemade Pesto Ingredients:
To make homemade pesto sauce, here’s what you’ll need:
- Fresh basil leaves
- Fresh garlic
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Walnuts (Traditional pesto uses pine nuts, but walnuts are more affordable in my region. You can use pine nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, or pepitas!)
- Lemon juice
- Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano is best)
Is Pesto Healthy?
Absolutely! I’m a Registered Dietitian, and I’m here to tell you that there are definitely nutrition benefits from homemade pesto:
Basil is a super nutritious herb. It’s a rich source of antioxidants, which help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. It is also a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals such as calcium and iron.
Pesto does tend to be higher in calories and fat, and this is because some two of the main ingredients are olive oil and parmesan cheese. Luckily, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is a good source of calcium and protein.
Extra virgin olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (types of healthy fats) that are important for good health. It also contains compounds called polyphenols that like basil, have antioxidant properties.
How to Make The Best Basil Pesto Recipe:
What to Serve with Homemade Basil Pesto:
You can serve homemade basil pesto on so many things!
Of course, serve it over pasta (warm or cold) like my Pesto Pasta Salad with White Beans, or my Pesto Caprese Pasta Salad.
You can smear it on sandwiches or wraps, enjoy it as a dip for bread or crackers, or toss cooked vegetables in it and serve them as a side dish. I do that with my Crispy Pesto Roasted Potatoes.
I like to use pesto like a sauce or marinade for proteins, like I do in my Sheet Pan Pesto Chicken & Potatoes. You can even serve pesto with eggs! Like in these Pesto Vegetable Egg Wraps and my Pesto Eggs & Vegetable Skillet.
My Food Processor
The Kitchen Aid Mini Chopper is the food processor I use to make my Homemade Pesto, and it is pictured here on my blog.
How to Store Fresh Pesto:
To store fresh homemade pesto in the fridge, transfer it to an airtight container and cover the surface of the pesto with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent oxidation.
Doing this helps preserve the bright green colour and fresh flavour of the pesto. Stored this way, homemade pesto can last for up to one week in the fridge.
It is also possible to freeze homemade pesto for longer storage. To freeze, transfer the pesto to an airtight container or ice cube trays, and freeze for up to six months.
To use from frozen, thaw the pesto in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for a few hours. Note that when frozen and thawed, the texture of the pesto may change slightly, but the flavour should remain intact.
Connect with Hannah Magee, RD!
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. If you try the recipe let me know what you think by leaving a rating and a comment below. Oh, and be sure to take a photo and tag me on @hannahmagee_rd so I can see!
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The Best 5-Minute Basil Pesto Recipe
- 2 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup walnuts, Can sub. with pine nuts, pepitas, or sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, I use Parmigiano Reggiano
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp lemon juice, The juice of approx. 1 medium lemon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- In a high-speed blender or food processor, combine all of the pesto ingredients except for olive oil.
- Process until well-combined into somewhat of a paste.
- Continue to process on low speed while gradually pouring in the olive oil. Stop to scrape down the sides as necessary.
- Continue to process until ingredients are blended into a mostly smooth pesto, but a little texture is fine.