Healthy Eating Italian Recipes

Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto

In my last post I talked about doing more recipes for pasta dishes, as they are cheap and easy to make. So, I thought I’d begin with a recipe for basil pesto, something which is really easy to make and which goes quite a long way. Indeed, one need only add a teaspoon of this sauce to a bowl of pasta to make a quick, easy and fairly wholesome meal. When I was young I went through a phase of eating this simple, yet tasty, dish pretty much every day of the week, sometimes twice a day. It really is that nice, and if you’ve never tried it… do.

Some will try to tell you that the best way to make pesto is to use a mortar and pestle, however, as Rick Stein once commented, I challenge anyone to tell the difference between a torn leaf and a bashed leaf. As such, the easiest way to make this is to bung it all in a blender, stirring in the oil at the end until the required consistency has been found. It really is as simple as that, which is why I have felt little need to include a method in this recipe. In fact, the only mildly complicated thing one must do is toast the pine nuts. To do this simply place the pine nuts in a dry pan tossing the occasionally until browned, do not allow them to burn.

Basil Pesto {recipe}

Serves 10-15


  • 3 handfuls of fresh basil, remove large stalks
  • ½ clove of garlic
  • 1 handful of toasted pine nuts
  • 1 handful of finely grated parmesan cheese
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Plenty of oil, add until fluid but not runny
  • Seasoning

A pot of good pesto in a supermarket generally costs around £2, we shall ignore the pants Sainsbury’s own brand which skimps on the more expensive pine nuts. This recipe comes in at between £2 and £2.50 for the entire pot, and it makes substantially more than the 190g pots one buys in the shops. This means that each serving of pesto will cost a maximum of 25p, which I think is a real bargain.

17 replies on “Basil Pesto”

Hmmm, your pine nuts look a little overtoasted to me lol! I’ve never made my own pesto, I would have to plant more basil and them be overwhelmed with basil for the whole summer. No matter, I might just give it a go.

They were a little, but it’s hard to tell as I didn’t actually burn them. Caught them just in time! I think you can freeze pesto, so you could make it up in batch and freeze it. It is so nice homemade.

I wasn’t toasting my pinenuts! No wonder the taste was a little off. I’m excited to tweak my pesto after reading this. We LOVE pesto and could probably eat pesto pasta every day for the rest of our lives. Thanks for the recipe!

I’ve frozen it and it stores very well that way.

I’ve been looking for a good pesto recipe – thank you! I’m currently cultivating a windowsill herb garden thanks to lurpack’s seed kits, so as soon as my basil is at full strength I shall give this a go! 😀

I am not much of a fan of basil…there isn’t much that I don’t like but basil crosses that line for me between sweet and savoury and is too much like licorice to be something that I would slather over my savoury loving tastebuds (can’t stand sweet and sour, pinapple on pizza or the weird South African trend towards fruit in their savoury dishes either…) so basil and I tend to be vary wary around each other. I have been known to resort to pesto on the odd occasion but now that I know I can make it with other herbs I tend to stick to using them. Coriander is a favourite 🙂

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