There is nothing like fresh basil pesto to liven up a simple meal! Whether you toss with pasta or potatoes, use in grilled cheese sandwiches or spread on salmon or a pizza fresh beats the jar every time!
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When it comes to basil, fresh is best! Growing your own in a raised bed herb garden is a great way to go, but if that isn’t going to work for you I find that buying a basil plant is the most economical way to use basil. I keep one or two plants on my porch or counter and pick leaves as I need them. A plant usually lasts me a month and costs $2.99 at Trader Joe’s whereas an already picked bunch costs $4.99 and only stays good a few days.
How to Make Pesto:
Simply mince fresh garlic cloves in processor first, then add other ingredients: parmesan, sea salt, basil, and pine nuts. Give all ingredients a whirl and in a minute, you have fresh basil pesto! For my dairy free fresh basil pesto recipe, click!
Recipes using fresh basil:
Once you make your pesto, what do you do with it? Well toss it with pasta of course, but you can also try my Fresh Tomato and Basil Pesto Pizza…
…on spread on my gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches…
…or use as a flavorful topping on my crispy Pesto Salmon.
The Recipe: Basil Pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 3 small garlic cloves, peeled
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
- toss with 16oz pasta, or use on any of the suggestions above (in blog post)
Pulse garlic in food processor. Add basil leaves, pine nuts and parmesan. Puree in processor, slowly adding olive oil till desired consistency is achieved. Add a generous pinch of sea salt and a few turns of fresh pepper, scrape down sides of processor and process again adding more olive oil if necessary. To save extra pesto, just place in a small dish, drizzle with olive oil to prevent oxidation and cover with lid or plastic. Keep in fridge for up to 5 days. This makes enough pesto for 16oz of any pasta you choose.
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