Jul 9, 2012

Homemade Pesto

homemade pesto

I have to start off letting you know I used to hate pesto. Like really hate it. I love fresh basil so it was weird to me that I didn't care for pesto at all. That all changed this year.

Our basil bushes have been doing quite well this year and I've been clipping it like crazy and making a lot of caprese salads and adding fresh basil to just about everything. It's been wonderful!

Since we have SO much basil I decided to make my own pesto and give my taste buds another shot. I mean, really, it's probably been 10+ years since I tried it and I'm certain my tastes have changed since then.

I looked up a lot of recipes online for pesto, read a bunch of reviews and made up my own version based off of this one. Turns out I love pesto!

Total surprise to me but I'm so glad I gave it another shot. I've been creating all sorts of dishes just so I can use it.

I first tried it alone on some fresh sliced tomatoes from the garden.

garden tomatoes with pesto


Then I heated some up in a skillet with a little cream and poured it over gnocchi and chicken.

chicken and gnocchi with pesto

Delicious again!

Then we had our homemade pizza night and I made a pizza with pesto as the sauce. I topped it with tomatoes, onions, sausage, feta and more cheese and baked it.

Homemade pizza with pesto

Again, delicious.

And the latest meal was just some store-bought chicken and cheese ravioli tossed with warmed pesto.

chicken and cheese ravioli with pesto

No surprise here. Delicious.

To top it off, it was so easy to make and as you can see, so versitile.

Have I interested you in making your own yet?!

If so, here's what you'll need:
ingredients for pesto

1. 3 cups chopped basil
2. 2 tablespoons minced garlic
3. 2/3 cup parmesean cheese
4. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
5. 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
6. 1/2 cup roasted walnuts, chopped

Ideally, you would blend the basil and a tablespoon of olive oil in a food processor until it was a paste, but I didn't have a food processor at the time so I used my magic bullet. Anyway, once you have a basil paste, gradually add the nuts, garlic, spices and remaining olive oil and blend until smooth. I just stored mine in a jar and stuck it in the fridge to use when I need it.

I know I have parmesan cheese listed and you need it, but I also read that if you leave it out your pesto will last longer. So, I just add the cheese as I use it but if you prefer to add it, just blend it in when you add the nuts and stuff.

That's it. Hope you enjoy it!


  1. I finally tried pesto a few months ago at Top That Pizza. I freaking love it!! I will definitely steal some basil from my grandparents garden and make this. Looks pretty easy!

    1. It's one of the easiest things I've ever made. You will love it!

  2. oh and I do pesto as the sauce for my pizza. Then I add spinach, roasted garlic, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, black olives, green onions, bacon, grilled chicken, feta, parmesan, and romano. I'm sure it is very low-cal or maybe even no-cal. HAHA!

  3. Dear Lesleykins,
    Yes, you TOTALLY peaked my interest in pesto. I'll have to see if I can find a cheese-free version for our dairy-freers around here but otherwise, DELISH.

    Isn't it amazing how our pallets change over time? I used to dislike coffee/ice tea, almost all veggies, nuts and 'real' meat... and now that's pretty much all I eat!

    Presto Pesto in NE

    1. Hey Raimie! Just leave out the cheese. Half the time I don't even use it!

      I'm so glad my tastes have changed! And your tastes seem like they've gotten better too :)

  4. This looks so delicious! I am going to make some right now!Glad you stopped by my blog so I found you! I will add you to my daily reads! :)

  5. Love this blog! :) Looks delicious and i'm your newest follower!

  6. I seriously want to eat at your house. Like every meal. YUM.

  7. yum yum!!!
    i have a question:do you grow your basil outside? if so, do you have problems with squirrels or other animals?


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