This quick and easy basil pesto recipe is the best! It is fast and easy and made with fresh basil, spinach and toasted pine nuts. It is versatile, delicious and healthy. Eat it on toasted bread, with veggies or in pasta.
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It's summertime, that means I have a very large basil plant in my yard. If you are wondering how to use fresh basil, or what to do with basil, try making this quick and easy basil pesto recipe!
It is so delish and fresh. Fresh basil at the store can be expensive, so I recommend growing your own plant. They can be planted in a pot and kept on the porch or in a window that gets sun, or it can be planted in your yard or garden.
Basil smells AMAZING and I love having it right outside my front door, in fact 3 of my kids will just eat the leaves straight off of the plant (I promise, they are well fed).
Traditional Pesto vs. Pesto with a twist
A few notes on petso: traditional pesto is made with basil leaves, however I mix in fresh spinach as well. I find that pesto made with only basil can be very strong. If you like it strong then, by all means, use all basil. The mixture of fresh spinach with the basil is where it's at for me.
Wash the basil and spinach and spin it in a salad spinner to remove the excess water. I use this one, it works great and it's fun to use.
Get out your food processor. You really need a good quality, larger food processor for this. A blender will not do the trick. Hamilton Beach has a great 10 cup food processor. Click here to view.
Here are some other top rated food processors:
Add the fresh basil and spinach, also put in the peeled garlic cloves, parmasan cheese, salt, freshly cracked black peppers, lemon and toasted pine nuts.
What kind of nuts to use in pesto?
A note on pine nuts, they are rather pricey, but they are amazing. If you are not willing to pay the price you can always substitute walnuts into this recipe. I use walnuts regularly and really can't tell much of a difference in the outcome of the pesto whatsoever. If you do use pine nuts they MUST be toasted! They are bitter if not toasted, but toasting them gives them a rich flavor that is not bitter. Click here to see how to toast them.
Turn on the food processor and drizzle the olive oil in while it is processing. Process the pesto until it reaches your desired consistency. I like mine spreadable but not runny.
Store it in an airtight container for up to 7 days in the fridge. This recipe also freezes very well! Put it in an ice cube tray to freeze, once frozen transfer the cubes into a freezer bag.
Serve it on toasted bread, with veggies, on a sandwich or in pasta. This is Perfect with this Grilled Chicken Pesto Pasta!!
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Quick and Easy Homemade Pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 2 cups fresh spinach or spinach and arugula mix
- 3 cloves garlic peeled
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¾ teas salt
- ½ teas freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ lemon juiced
- ⅓ cup olive oil extra virgin
- wash an spin the fresh basil and spinach in a salad spinner to drain excess water
- add the basil and spinach to the food processor
- add the rest of the ingredients except the olive oil
- turn on the food processor and slowly drizzle the olive oil in while it's processing until it reaches your desired consistency. I like it spreadable but not runny (see video)
- serve with toasted bread, in pasta, with veggies or on sandwiches
- store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 7 days
- pesto freezes well, put it in an ice cube tray in the freezer until frozen, remove from the ice cube tray and transfer into a freezer bag.