Basic Pesto Sauce Recipe

Fresh pesto is one of my absolute favorite summer indulgences. There’s nothing quite like picking basil from a container out on the deck (or from the bounty in your garden) and whipping up a quick batch. You can dress pasta with it, use it as pizza sauce, set it out as an appetizer with dipping bread, or if you’re like me – stand in the kitchen with a bowl of it and go through cracker after cracker scooping up that wonderful fresh basil goodness (oops). After I made the Portobello Pesto Pizza a number of you asked for the pesto recipe that I used for the sauce, so without further ado…

My recipe for pesto isn’t completely traditional but  you can easily make a couple of substitutions to suit your tastes. Traditionally, pesto is made with basil, garlic, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. Because I like to use what’s on hand and not spend tons of money on extra ingredients, I almost always make my pesto with walnuts because I buy them in bulk to bake with and always have a big bag on hand (and pine nuts are expensive). I use Romano cheese in place of Parmesan for the same reason.

My beloved basil plant, which has provided me with numerous batches of fresh pesto this summer:

And my new favorite way to use pesto – as pizza sauce. I fell in love with the Portobello Pesto Pizza!


What’s your favorite way to enjoy a fresh batch of pesto?

One year ago: Snickerdoodle Blondies
Two years ago: Bananas Foster Banana Bread
Three years ago: Bagels
Four years ago: Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

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Basic Pesto Recipe


2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup olive oil
½ cup Romano cheese


In a food processor or blender, pulse together the basil, walnuts and garlic 5 to 7 times. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Scrape down the sides of the machine and add the cheese. Pulse a few more times to blend.

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