Using just 5 ingredients, this homemade Pesto Sauce is packed with flavor and easy to prepare! Perfect on pasta, bread, pizza, and more!
Making pesto has always meant that I buy the store packet of “pesto powder” and simply follow instructions on the packet.
If you have ever tried the store-bought mix, you know that it really isn’t too similar to a homemade version. It is much more watery/oily, and the pesto/Basil flavor is not as strong.
Once I grew Basil in my garden last year, I came up with a yummy Pesto, and from there, I now only make my own version. I find that it is much more flavorful and coats the pasta much better.
Classic Pesto Sauce is incredibly simple and flavorful to make using only a handful of fresh ingredients!
This version is quite simple. In fact, you can have it ready to go within five minutes!! That is quicker than even the store-bought packets!!!
Not only is this sauce great on pasta, but it also is wonderful on breads, veggies, used as a dip, and more!
My family especially loves when I add some seasoned, diced chicken into the pasta with this sauce and make it a complete meal!
What is pesto?
Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa, the capital city of Liguria, Italy. It traditionally consists of crushed garlic, European pine nuts, coarse salt, basil leaves, and hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Sardo, all blended with olive oil.
Can I add pine nuts to my pesto?
Yes! Absolutely! In fact, classic pesto sauce includes pine nuts, but because I don’t always have those on hand, I tend to make mine without and add them in on the rare occasions I am stocked. A great alternative to pine nuts if you don’t have any, would be walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, or almonds. If using nuts, add about 1/3 cup.
Can I freeze Pesto?
Absolutely! However, if you are going to freeze it, simply omit the cheese as it does not freeze well. Prepare sauce as directed below and store in a freezer safe storage container until ready to use. Thaw and stir in the grated cheese and you are set!
To store pesto sauce in the refrigerator, cover an airtight container with plastic wrap and ensure the plastic is touching the sauce. Then place lid on container and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. By having the plastic wrap touch the sauce, this eliminates air pockets and keeps the pesto sauce from darkening in color.
Flavor packed uses for pesto:
One Skillet Pesto Chicken and Veggies
Slow Cooker Cheesy Pesto Pasta
Homemade Pesto Sauce uses only a few simple ingredients to create a flavor packed sauce for many different uses! Print or save the recipe below and be sure to give it a try!
Homemade Pesto Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups Basil *fresh
- 4 garlic cloves *minced
- 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
- 1/2 cup olive oil *see note above
- 1 pinch salt
- Add all ingredients to your food processor and blend on high until all is combined and sauce is formed. Add a bit more olive oil if preferred.
- Use on breads, veggies, pastas, and more!
*Recipe updated and republished 5/17/2021 from 6/2013