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45 degree angle view of a small mason jar filled with pesto with some lemons and olive oil in the background

How to make Pesto

  • Author: Vicky & Ruth
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Pesto is a divine, fresh, luscious green basil sauce that will brighten your pasta, pizza, roasted veggies and crostini.


  • 5 cups packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 cups chopped pine nuts, ( you may use any nuts you may like, pumpkin or sunflower seeds if allergic to nuts). See Note 1
  • 1/4-1/3  cup extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese OR 1/4 cup nutritional yeast.  See Note 2
  • 1/2 tsp salt, skip if using parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic or more to taste. See note 3
  • The zest of one medium lemon and 2 tsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)



  1. Combine all the ingredients, except the olive oil, in the food processor. Pulse while drizzling the olive oil until you obtain a chunky sauce (do not over process. You don't want a smooth paste, pesto should have some texture)
  2. Taste the pesto and add more olive oil, salt or cheese to your taste


  1. Pine nuts are our favorite nut to add to pesto, but they are expensive and sometimes hard to find. Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, etc work well also. See a complete list on the post.
  2. If you are using Parmesan cheese, don't add the salt, taste the pesto and add more salt, if needed.   For a vegan option use nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan instead.
  3. We are not big fans of raw garlic, so we only used one clove of garlic for this pesto.  Feel free to use more if you would like.  We prefer the basil to be the predominant flavor in our pesto. Read the body of the post for more suggestions.
  • Category: sauce
  • Method: raw
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
  • Calories: 31
  • Sugar: 0
  • Sodium: 63.2
  • Fat: 3.1
  • Saturated Fat: 0.6
  • Unsaturated Fat: 2.3
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 0.3
  • Fiber: .1
  • Protein: .6
  • Cholesterol: 1.2

Keywords: how to make pesto, pesto sauce,