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¼ cup olive oil

2 cups firmly packed fresh basil or spinach leaves (see Notes)

3 cloves garlic

¼ cup chopped walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts or pine nuts (see Notes)

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon salt (optional)


  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse until all is mixed.  Use a spoon or rubber scraper to clean the edges of the container between pulses. If needed, add 1 or 2 Tablespoons water to make the thickness you want.
  3. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours. Use within 3 days or freeze for long-term storage. (See Notes)


  • Ideas for using Pesto:
    • Add to flavor soups and sauces.
    • Serve with grilled or roasted meat, fish or poultry.
    • Mix with mashed avocado, mayonnaise or tahini for a creamy dip, sauce, spread or dressing.
    • Add to scrambled eggs, omelets, quiche and frittatas.
  • Use spinach instead of basil for a milder flavor. You can make pesto with a combination of most any leafy green, including carrot tops and parsley.
  • Basil can be easy to grow at home, in the ground or in a container.  Look for local basil at farmers markets during the summer and early fall.
  • For more flavor, toast the nuts before adding. Place nuts in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir often until they turn a light brown and remove from heat to cool.
  • For a spicier pesto, try adding a dash of black pepper or red pepper flakes.
  • No blender or food processor? Use a mortar and pestle or finely chop and mash ingredients. Start with the garlic and salt, then add nuts and basil. Stir oil and cheese.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 year. Try freezing in ice cube trays or muffin tins. Remove when frozen firm and place in an airtight freezer container.
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2 1/4 cups
Prep time:
15 minutes
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