Classic Pesto

  • Prep 10 min
  • Total 10 min
  • Servings 1


cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
cup grated Parmesan cheese
cup olive or vegetable oil
cloves garlic
cup pine nuts


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  • 1
    Place all ingredients in blender or food processor.
  • 2
    Cover and blend on medium speed about 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape sides, until smooth.



Expert Tips

  • Firmly pack basil leaves in measuring cup to ensure you’re using enough basil.
  • Scrape down sides of blender or food processor occasionally so that ingredients chop evenly.
  • Place plastic wrap directly on surface of pesto to help prevent it from darkening in refrigerator or freezer.
  • Thaw frozen pesto in refrigerator or place in resealable food-storage plastic bag with frozen pesto in container of hot water until thawed. Do not microwave to thaw because pesto will lose flavor.
  • Pesto adds a burst of fresh flavor to many dishes, transforming a familiar food into something different and new. A little goes a long way, so start off with a small amount, adding more if you like: • Cooked vegetables: Toss with hot cooked vegetables instead of using butter. • Corn on the Cob: Spread on hot, cooked corn on the cob instead of using butter and salt. • Dip or Spread: Serve with appetizers as a dip or as a spread for bread, crackers, or cut-up raw vegetables. • Mashed Potatoes: Stir into hot mashed potatoes. • Meat or Fish: Brush on chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, scallops or fish during cooking or top cooked meat or fish after cooking. • Pasta, Rice or Couscous: Toss with hot cooked pasta, rice or couscous. • Pasta Salads: Replace a little of the mayonnaise or dressing with pesto in pasta salads. • Spread on crust instead of using traditional pizza sauce or add dollops to baked pizza as a topping. • Sandwich spread: Use instead of mayonnaise or mustard in sandwiches or in addition to your typical spread. • Sauces: Stir into cream sauce or cheese sauce for serving on chicken, pork or pasta. • Scrambled Eggs: Add a spoonful to eggs while beating. • Soups: Stir into soups such as potato, tomato or corn chowder, or serve soup with a dollop of pesto on top.
  • For homemade pesto anytime, freeze pesto in ice cube trays. Once frozen, remove pesto cubes to a resealable freezer plastic bag and store in freezer up to 6 months.
  • Basil, Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Pesto: Use food processor. Decrease basil to 1 cup. Decrease oil to 1/3 cup; add 1/2 cup drained roasted red or yellow bell peppers (from jar). Substitute walnuts for the pine nuts.
  • Cilantro Pesto: Substitute 1 1/2 cups firmly packed fresh cilantro and 1/2 cup firmly packed fresh parsley for the fresh basil.
  • Spinach Winter Pesto: Substitute 2 cups firmly packed fresh spinach and 1/2 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves or 1/4 cup dried basil leaves for the fresh basil.
  • Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto: Use food processor. Omit basil. Decrease oil to 1/3 cup; add ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, undrained.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Tablespoon
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value
Total Fat
10 g
Saturated Fat
2 g
5 mg
70 mg
35 mg
Total Carbohydrate
1 g
Dietary Fiber
2 g
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
2 Fat;
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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