Recipe: Basil Pesto

image of homemade basil pesto on a bench with a bunch of fresh basil and lemon

Basil Pesto

There’s nothing like beautiful homemade pesto to add a bomb of fresh flavour to just about any dish.

Pesto is so quick and simple to whip up, and really makes the most of the beautiful fresh & abundant basil available from markets or picked fresh from your own garden.

Add to pasta dishes, put it on toast with bruschetta or eggs, add to sauces, salad dressings and dip, or generously dollop it onto your pizza.  The possibilities are endless, and oh-so-delicious!

Homemade pesto tastes better and is free from preservatives.  Plus, store bought can be expensive!  So this version is budget friendly and can be customised depending on what’s available in your garden, fridge and pantry.

This pesto stores very well – see our tips below.

Inspiration for this recipe came from The Simple Home Edit.


Let’s Get Cooking!


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (you can also substitute half for baby spinach, parsley or whatever soft herb you love)
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (substitute for whatever nut you prefer – walnuts, almonds, cashews or macadamia nuts all work well)
  • 1 garlic clove, freshly peeled
  • 1 tsp salt flakes (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp pepper (or to taste)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (plus extra to store)



  1. Place basil leaves (& other leaves if using), cheese, nuts, garlic, salt & pepper into a food processor.  Pulse for 5-10 seconds, scraping down sides as required until the mixture is crumbly.
  2. Slowly add olive oil while the food processor is running.  Scrape down the sides as needed, until the mixture is smooth.  Add more oil for a looser pesto, or less if you’d prefer it a bit thicker.
  3. Store pesto in an air-tight container in the fridge (refer to storage recommendations below).



  • If stored appropriately, your homemade basil pesto will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  • Store in an air tight container & drizzle the top with a generous layer of extra olive oil to preserve the pesto, keeping it fresh.
  • Every time you use the pesto, top it up with more olive oil to continue the preservation.
  • You may notice the top layer of the basil pesto darkens slightly over time, but this should still be fine to eat as long as the olive oil has been on top.
  • This recipe also freezes really well – add pesto to ice cube trays and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw completely in the fridge overnight before use.