5 from 2 votes

Basil Pesto Sauce

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our read the Privacy Policy

Whip up this delightful Pesto di Basilico and watch it elevate your pasta and other dishes. Got some extra garden basil? This is your tasty solution!

Basil Pesto, made with fresh basil leaves, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and olive oil, is easily prepared in the food processor.

Pesto di Basilico freshly made in a bowl.

It’s a simple, adaptable, and delicious sauce that pairs well with dishes like pasta, chicken, or even just a slice of crusty bread for dipping.

Why Making Classic Basil Pesto is a Game-Changer

  • Irresistible Flavor: Nothing quite like the aroma and taste of homemade pesto. The freshness of basil, paired with virgin olive oil and the earthy undertones of pine nuts, is unparalleled.
  • Quick and Easy: With our straightforward recipe, you can whip up a vibrant basil pesto in less than 10 minutes.
  • Authenticity at Home: Why settle for store-bought versions when you can easily recreate the genuine flavors of authentic “pesto di Basilico” in your kitchen?
best pesto basil recipe on a wooden spoon.

Ingredients for a Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe

  • Fresh basil leaves: There’s no real substitute for this. Tip: Buy basil plants for easy and affordable access to fresh leaves throughout the season.
  • Fresh garlic: For that extra kick and flavor.
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese: Ditch the store-bought versions and go for fresh Parmesan Cheese for a richer taste.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil adds smoothness and rich texture.
  • Raw Pine nuts: These can be replaced with walnuts, cashews, or almonds, but remember, each nut offers a unique flavor.
easy pesto ingredients made with pine nuts and fresh basil.

How to Make Pesto di Basilico

  1. Gather Your Equipment: To start, ensure you have a food processor. It’s crucial for achieving the ideal texture, whether you prefer your “pesto basilic” smooth or a tad chunky.
  2. Blend: Place all ingredients into the food processor. Process for 10 seconds, then scrape down the sides and continue until you get a consistent blend.
  3. Adjust: If the mixture is too thick, introduce virgin olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.
easy basil pesto sauce recipe with only 4 ingredients.

This pesto recipe yields roughly a 2/3 cup batch of pesto pasta sauce.

Commonly Asked and Answered Questions

What are some Traditional Pesto Basilic basil uses?

Pesto, originally from the Liguria region of Italy, is traditionally known as “pesto alla Genovese” or “pesto basilic” (in English: basil pesto).

This aromatic green sauce has been embraced worldwide, and while its uses have expanded, here are some of the traditional ways pesto basilic is used:

  • Pasta: The most classic use. Pesto is often tossed with cooked pasta, particularly creamy spaghetti, tagliatelle, tortellini, and linguine.
  • Bruschetta: Toasted slices of crusty bread with pesto for a simple, flavorful treat.
  • Eggs: You wouldn’t believe it, but pesto eggs are insanely good.

pesto in eggs is delicious.

Are there substitutes for pine nuts in pesto sauce?

Yes, there are several substitutes for pine nuts in pesto sauce. While pine nuts provide pesto with a traditional flavor and texture, they can be expensive or hard to find for some.

When substituting pine nuts with any of the below-listed options, keep in mind that the flavor profile of your pesto will change slightly.

raw pine nuts.

Here are some pine nut alternatives:

  • Walnuts are a popular alternative and provide a slightly bitter and rich taste.
  • Almonds: When blanched and skinned, almonds can give your pesto a creamy texture similar to pine nuts.
  • Cashews: These nuts are often used for their creamy texture and mild flavor.
  • Sunflower seeds: A nut-free alternative, sunflower seeds can be used in pesto for a slightly different but pleasant taste.

  • Pecans: They can add a sweet and buttery flavor to the pesto.
  • Macadamia nuts: These will give your pesto a rich and buttery taste.
  • Hazelnuts: They provide a distinct and slightly sweet flavor.
  • Pistachio lends a unique flavor and supports the vibrant green color of the pesto.
almonds in pesto.

Is pesto salty?

Pesto can be somewhat salty due to the inclusion of Parmesan cheese and sometimes added salt. However, the saltiness can vary based on the specific recipe and individual taste preferences.

If you find a pesto too salty, you can adjust the amount of salt in a recipe (we don’t include it in ours) or Parmesan cheese when making it yourself.

pouring out parmesan cheese.

Easy At-Home Recipe Variations

The sky’s the limit once you’ve mastered the basic pesto recipe. Introduce pepper flakes for a spicy kick or a splash of lemon juice for added zing. Whether you’re making homemade pesto sauce or its variants, remember, it’s all about the fresh flavor.

Storage Tip: Always store the leftover pesto in an airtight container to preserve its vibrant green color and freshness.

So, the next time you crave that perfect pesto, skip the store-bought version and get excited about making your own “pesto basilic” sauce.

Italian pesto basilic in a bowl.
5 from 2 votes

Pesto di Basilico (Basil Pesto)

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Easy Pesto Sauce Recipe with Fresh Basil and Pine nuts, a classic basil pesto recipe. This pesto di basilico recipe is so easy to make! In under 10 minutes, you can have homemade and delicious basil pesto perfect for appetizers, Caprese pizza, or even pesto pasta chicken! 


  • 3 cups FRESH basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts


  • Preparation: Ensure your food processor is clean and set up for use.
  • Combine Ingredients:
    Begin by adding the following to the food processor: 3 cups of fresh basil leaves, 2 teaspoons of minced garlic, 3/4 cup of freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup of pine nuts.
  • Initiate Blending:
    Start the food processor and let the ingredients blend for about 10 seconds.
  • Inspect & Scrape:
    Pause the processor and open the lid. With a spatula, gently scrape down the sides, ensuring all ingredients are incorporated.
  • Adjust Consistency:
    Resume processing and slowly drizzle in the 1/2 cup of olive oil until you achieve a smooth consistency. Depending on your preference, you might use slightly more or less oil.
  • Serve & Enjoy:
    Use your freshly crafted pesto as a delightful addition to pasta, a marinade for chicken, a spread on pizza, or a dipping sauce for warm, crusty bread. Enjoy the burst of fresh flavors!


The recipe makes 2/3rds cup of Basil Pesto Sauce.
There are pine nut substitutions if you would like to experiment, which are listed in the article. 


Serving: 1Servings | Calories: 485kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 38g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 341mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

Sharing of this recipe is encouraged and appreciated. Copying of full recipe to any social media is prohibited.

Did You Make This Recipe?

Make sure to follow Salty Side Dish on Pinterest and rate the recipe here and make sure to leave a comment below!

5 from 2 votes
5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

Leave A Comment

Have a question or want to provide feedback? Share your recipe reviews or questions here and I will do my best to help!

Recipe Rating

Where To Next?