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…

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 often 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

Basic Pesto Recipe

Servings 1 cup
Prep 5 minutes
Total 5 minutes
Author: Michelle

A great go to pesto recipe


  • 2
    fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3
    pine nuts
  • 3
  • ½
    olive oil
  • ½
    Parmesan cheese


  1. 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.

Recipe Notes:

  • You can substitute chopped walnuts for the pine nuts.
  • Romano cheese can be substituted for Parmesan.


Calories: 1427kcal
Fat: 147g
Saturated fat: 25g
Cholesterol: 52mg
Sodium: 606mg
Potassium: 392mg
Carbohydrates: 11g
Fiber: 3g
Sugar: 1g
Protein: 23g
Vitamin A: 54.8%
Vitamin C: 13.9%
Calcium: 67.2%
Iron: 20.3%

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!