Pesto Sauce

This post was last updated on April 26, 2015 to include new images.

Pesto Sauce

To me, pesto used to be one of those things that sounded mysterious and difficult to make.

However, I have found that pesto sauce is actually super easy.

Pesto Sauce - Fresh BailPesto Sauce - Ingredients

Homemade pesto is also a great way to use up extra basil you don’t want to waste.

Since I usually keep a box of pine nuts or walnuts in my pantry for just that occasion, it’s a quick toss in the ol’ food processor and poof: pesto!

Pesto Sauce - Ingredients

Now,”traditionalists” would say it’s not “real” pesto unless it is made with a mortar and pestle, but I’m surely no traditionalist and my food processor does a fine job.

Just stick all the ingredients in, shut and pulse.

Easy, right?

Pesto Sauce - Food ProcessorPesto Sauce - Ready To Blend

Try not to puree the pesto sauce to an entirely smooth consistency.  Instead, try to keep it coarse…as though it was made with the mortar and pestle.  Sneaky, I know.

Though, if you like it smooth, go right ahead!

Pesto Sauce - Processed

Pesto has its use in many dishes.  I spread it on my turkey, pesto and cheddar panini, use it as a sauce on my pesto and goat cheese pizza, combine it with freshly cooked pasta and add a few tablespoons to my tomato sauce for a good basil kick, just to name a few.

Pesto Sauce - ProcessedPesto Sauce

It also keeps for about a week in the fridge and even longer if frozen.

Pesto Sauce

For storage in your fridge, just make sure there is a decent layer of oil on the surface (it will surface on its own).  If there’s isn’t enough after a while, you can add a little to help it out.  This will help it keep for a greater period of time…though, as tasty as it is, it’s bound to get used up long before it would ever go bad!

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If you give this recipe a try, let me know what you think by leaving a comment and rating it. And don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #asweetpeachef on Instagram! I LOVE seeing what you come up with. Enjoy!

5 from 1 vote
Pesto Sauce Square Recipe Preview Image
Pesto Sauce
Prep Time
3 mins
Cook Time
1 min
Total Time
4 mins

This Healthy Pesto Sauce is about to become your next favorite. It’s simple to make, yet packed with good-for-you ingredients. Use it with your favorite dish, on salads, and as a savory spread for sandwiches!

Categories: Sauce
Difficulty: Easy
Keyword: how to make pesto sauce, pesto sauce, pesto sauce recipe
Servings: 8
Calories: 152 kcal
Author: Lacey Baier of A Sweet Pea Chef
  • 2 1/2 oz fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts can substitute walnuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2-4 cloves garlic depending on how strong of a garlic taste you like
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to your desired consistency.
  2. You can also pulse the garlic and pine nuts together before the other ingredients to break them down a little bit more.
  3. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
Nutrition Facts
Pesto Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 152 Calories from Fat 143
% Daily Value*
Fat 15.9g24%
Saturated Fat 2.8g14%
Cholesterol 3.2mg1%
Sodium 65.4mg3%
Carbohydrates 0.9g0%
Fiber 0.3g1%
Sugar 0.1g0%
Protein 2.1g4%
Vitamin A 100IU2%
Vitamin C 0.8mg1%
Calcium 70mg7%
Iron 0.4mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Lacey Baier

Hey y’all, I’m Lacey Baier and I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, A Sweet Pea Chef. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Dallas, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

19 thoughts on “Pesto Sauce

  1. ok, i’ve just started getting in the kitchen for real in the past 6 months. I’ve learned a lot just by watching the chefs at the fine dining restaurant where i bartend. I try a lot of things and fail at a lot of things. I am so thrilled I found your blog! I can definitely see how it will really help me.


  2. As one who cans ALL THE TIME, I would advise against canning pesto… it’s not acidic enough, and has a higher risk of growing yucky things. Better to freeze it or give it as a fresh gift. The reason you can purchase it on the shelf at the store is because it has lots (and I do mean lots) of extra stuff added that you really don’t want to add to your homemade pesto. It does, however, make a fantastic gift when given fresh with some pasta in a strainer!

  3. This sounds delicious! I have been growing my own Basil and thought that giving homemade pesto would be a great gifts. Will this recipe can well or would it be better to give it fresh? Thank you!

    1. Hi Debora! You know, I’ve never tried freezing my pesto, but I did some research for you and found it can freeze up to 3-6 months. If you intend to freeze the pesto, leave out the parmesan and add it when you thaw and use the pesto because cheese doesn’t tend to freeze well. Good luck!

  4. Just wondering, do you have a basic measurement for about how many cups 2 1/2 ounces of fresh basil would be once it was all chopped up? I don’t have a way to determine how many ounces I’d have, but I’m definitely wanting to try this.

    1. Hi Laura. Very good question! Unfortunately, I don’t know the exact measurement (but I will pay attention next time I make pesto!), However, I would estimate it is between 3-5 cups if that helps you. I typically buy fresh basil in a 3-oz. container. I hope that helps.

  5. I love pesto! I like to add a little citrus to mine…either a squeeze of a lemon or even an orange! I think it really lightens it up!

    love your blog…just discovered it 🙂

  6. I LOVE LOVE LOVE pesto, and I am definitely going to have to try your recipe this weekend. Also, Love your blog, I always look forward to seeing what you cook up next

  7. Yum! This is the exact pesto recipe that I usually make. But just recently, someone gave me a tip to try using roasted pine nuts. I normally just used raw, but I thought I’d give it a try. While I was whizzing them in my food processor, they gave off the most indescribably delectable smell, and my pesto tasted amazing! I highly recommend it, as it only takes a minute to toast them dry in a frying pan. 🙂

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