pesto sauce recipe

Author’s Pesto Sauce Recipe

10 mins
Vadim Rachok
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Egg free dishLow Carb DishLow Fat

Make the perfect condiment to brighten pasta, salads, roasted vegetables, and more with this easy pesto sauce recipe. When you try to make it at home, you will always make it. This is because homemade pesto is more flavorful and tastier than store-bought. Besides, the preparation process will take only 10 minutes. Now, if you want to try my author’s recipe for pesto, follow the instructions below.

What is a Pesto Sauce?

Originating in Genoa, in the Liguria region of northern Italy, pesto sauce is a classic Italian sauce. The name “pesto” comes from the Italian word “pestare,” which means to pound or crush, referring to the traditional method of making pesto using mortar and pestle.

Pesto sauce is known for its lively, fresh, and aromatic taste profile. It features a perfect balance of herbs, nuts, garlic, and cheesy flavor with tangy freshness. Also, the olive oil adds smoothness to the sauce.

I like to drizzle it over grilled vegetables, pasta, spaghetti squash, salads, eggs, toasted bread, pizza, sandwiches… you get the idea. With just a few simple steps, it turns anything into an instant delicious meal, whether you feel like cooking or not.

Ingredients for Pesto Sauce

recipe for pesto sauce

  • Basil: Pesto’s star ingredient, basil provides its signature bright green color and fragrant, slightly sweet and peppery flavor.
  • Parmesan cheese: Add a rich, savory, umami depth to the sauce with Parmesan cheese.
  • Garlic: Garlic gives pesto a tangy, piquant, and savory flavor.
  • Lemon: For a touch of acidity and brightness, lemon juice or zest can be added to pesto.
  • Hazelnut: Hazelnuts add a unique twist to traditional pesto by providing a buttery texture and a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that complements the basil and cheese.
  • Olive Oil: Olive Oil acts as a binding agent, helping to bind all the ingredients together into a smooth and cohesive sauce.
  • Salt: Salt is essential for seasoning and bringing out the flavors of all the other ingredients in the sauce.

Pesto Sauce Step-By-Step Recipe

  1. In the bowl of a blender, combine the basil, garlic, fresh lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, hazelnuts and salt.
  2. Blend to a paste consistency. 
  3. Then, gradually add olive oil.

Chef Recipe Tip:

  • This recipe is my vision of the sauce. The original recipe calls for pine nuts. Also, the original pesto is made in a mortar. Then the ingredients are rubbed with olive oil and Parmesan cheese is added at the end.

Origin of Pesto

best recipe for pesto sauce

Pesto’s roots are in ancient Rome, where they prepared a similar paste known as ‘moretum’ from ground herbs, garlic, salt, cheese, and olive oil. However, it was not until the 19th century in the Ligurian region that the modern pesto alla Genovese, as we know it, became popular.

Pesto sauce is traditionally used with pasta dishes. It can also be spread on bread, drizzled over vegetables, or added to soups. It has become a popular staple in Italian cuisine and beyond for its versatility and distinctive flavor.

Pesto Recipe Variations

Once you have the classic basil pesto recipe, it is time for a change! This recipe is my vision of the pesto. You can also try other variations of this sauce. For, example, you can make delicious variations with all kinds of nuts, seeds, vegetables, and leafy greens. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Swap out the pine nuts for whatever you like! I especially love walnuts, almonds, and pistachios.
  • Use pepitas or hemp seeds to make a nut-free pesto.
  • Try using a different type of herb. Try substituting mint, cilantro, or parsley for the basil!
  • Or fewer herbs. Replace half of the basil with 1 cup of arugula, kale, or chopped zucchini. For a more punchy flavor, replace half of the basil with 4 artichoke hearts, 1 roasted red pepper, or half of an avocado.
  • Don’t let the stems of your vegetables go to waste. Blend 1/2 cup kale stalks with the pesto instead of half the basil.
  • Boost flavor! Add 2 to 4 sun-dried tomatoes, a charred jalapeño, nutritional yeast, or a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Using Fresh Basil for Pesto

easy recipe for pesto sauce

Dried basil is great for adding flavor to sauces, soups, and other dishes. However, its flavor is very different from that of fresh basil. You need fresh basil leaves to make pesto. When you buy fresh basil, look for vibrant green leaves that have not sprouted or wilted. There are many types of basil. Thai basil is really the only type of basil that’s too pungent for this recipe.

How to Freeze Pesto

If you are going to freeze the pesto, leave out the cheese (it doesn’t freeze very well). Line a tray of ice cubes with plastic wrap and fill each of the ice cubes with the pesto sauce. Freeze, then remove from the ice cube tray and store in a zip-top bag that is safe for the freezer. When ready to use, thaw and add grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Author’s Pesto Sauce Recipe
Author:Vadim Rachok
This pesto sauce recipe is a quick and easy pasta topping. A great change from red sauce.
pesto sauce recipe
Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
10 mins
The ingredients you need:
1,8 ounces (50 g) basil
0,5 ounces (15 g) parmesan cheese
1-2 cloves garlic
0,5 pc lemon
0,4 ounces (10 g) hazelnuts
1,4 ounces (40 g) olive oil
0,07 ounces (2 g) salt
Let’s start !

In the bowl of a blender, combine the basil, garlic, fresh lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, hazelnuts and salt.


Blend to a paste consistency. 


Gradually add olive oil.

Nutrition Information
Servings Per Recipe: 1 Calories: 543
% Daily Value *
 % Daily Value *
Total Fat 21g27%
Saturated Fat 3g14%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 20mg1%
Total Carbohydrate 2g1%
Dietary Fiber 1g3%
Total Sugars 0g 
Protein 2g5%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 40mg3%
Iron 1mg4%
Potassium 76mg2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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