When we foodies think of basil or basil pesto, we immediately think of Italy. With out a doubt, basil is the most popular herb in the boot shaped country. According to The Spruce Eats, the fleshy, dark green herb actually originated in India and was brought to the Mediterranean through the spice routes that were used in ancient times. Kudos to India because now I am able to grow fresh basil in my garden in South-Eastern Kentucky for the most perfect garden-to-table pesto. Not only is it cheaper to grow your own basil, but the process of taking care of a plant and watching it grow is extremely gratifying. 

In the culinary world, basil is often added at the last moment because cooking the leaves for too long can destroy the distinct flavor. Basil pesto, on the other hand, requires no cooking so we have all of its flavor here! With the nuttiness of the pine-nuts and saltiness of the Parmesan cheese, you will want to eat this garden pesto by the spoonful right out of the food processor!

Basil Pesto

  • Prep Time:10 mins
  • Cook Time:5 mins
  • Total Time:15 mins
  • Servings:6
  • Easy


  • 4 cups basil leaves packed
  • 5 ounces Parmesan cheese shredded
  • 4 ounces pine-nuts
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
Mareesa Ahmad
  • Step 1

    Remove the basil leaves from the stems and wash well with cold water.
    SpoonTip: Do not breeze over this step especially if you are using home grown basil. It is important to take the time to wash away all the dirt, dust, and tiny bugs to ensure they do not end up in the pesto.

    Mareesa Ahmad
  • Step 2

    Gently pat dry the basil leaves with paper towels. The goal here is to make sure the leaves are not dripping wet. If the leaves are too wet, the pesto will be runny, which is not our goal. However, don't sweat it if they still seem a little damp.

    Mareesa Ahmad
  • Step 3

    In a food processor, add half of the basil leaves, half of the shredded Parmesan cheese, half of the extra virgin olive oil, and half of the pine-nuts. Pulse until all the ingredients are well incorporated.

    Mareesa Ahmad
  • Step 4

    Use a rubber spatula and scrape down the inside of the food processor. Pulse again for 10-15 seconds.

    Mareesa Ahmad
  • Step 5

    Add the salt and pepper and the remaining basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil, and pine-nuts.

    Mareesa Ahmad
  • Step 6

    Blend and pulse until smooth, about 15-20 seconds.

    Mareesa Ahmad
  • Step 7

    With this recipe, you will end up with about two cups of fresh, delicious, garden to table pesto. Spoon into an air tight container, refrigerate, and enjoy up to 3 days.

    Mareesa Ahmad

If you are a fellow pesto lover like me, I highly encourage you to grow your own basil plant if possible. If I were to buy 4 cups of basil (packed) from the grocery store, I would have to sell an arm and a leg just to pay the cost. Instead, you can purchase a basil plant from your local Walmart for about $4 or a basil seed packet for just $1. If you care for your precious basil the right way, then you will be supplied with an abundant amount of basil all summer long.

The greatest part about basil pesto is that it is so versatile. You can serve it with crackers, use it to marinate salmon, mix it with fresh pasta, spread it onto a toasted baguette, add it to bruschetta, even toss it into an omelette! The pesto possibilities are endless. 

Happy Cooking!