Pesto Recipe

Who has a good pesto recipe to share?  My basil in prolific and the last time I made pesto it was too oily tasting so I'm looking for ideas.



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  • You folks are the GREATEST!  Lots of good ideas.  I have found parm cheese can really make recipes salty - we have not used extra salt on our food for many years so it doesn't take much to be over the top for us so the miso and yeast are an interesting idea.  I'll try these recipes over the next few weeks with the basil that's coming in.  Thanks so much!!

  • Try substituting walnut for pine nuts-it tastes better and is less expensive :). But Don't skimp on the quality of the parmesan.

    I make mine in large batches in the blender and freeze it in ziplocks. Freeze in small bags, and you'll have pesto all year. I only use basil, parmesan,nuts and olive oil in mine (can't remember proportions). I think the simplicity of the recipe really lets the basil shine!
    • Yes! Walnuts work well - we've used them alot when we don't have pinenuts on hand. Almonds actually work well too.

  • My husband and I eat a whole food plant-based diet, plus we don't use added oil (since it is a processed food with only a small part of the original food & hardly any nutrition). We get plenty of dietary fat from whole foods like nuts,olives, tofu, avocadoes and lots more! Also, as endurance runners we are not trying to cut calories.

    Anyway, we love pesto and grow lots of basil. This is the recipe we use and LOVE:

    2 cups basil

    2 TBSP pine nuts

    2 cloves of garlic,sliced or chopped

    1 TBSP white miso

    2 TBSP nutritional yeast

    1/8 to 1/4 c cup lemon juice

    water if you want it thinner

    Process it all in the food processor. The yeast & miso are a salty, savory sustitute for parmesan and the pinenuts supply plenty of fat. Adjust all to taste, of course - we like more garlic and plenty of lemon juice! Great tossed with ww pasta and chopped fresh tomato and green peas.

    This recipe is also in our October 2012 Indigo Street Pottery Newsletter in the 4th story:



    • Thanks Farraday, you and Jeff are an inspiration to me!  I love your website.  :)

    • Thanks so much Liz and Dan - that means a lot coming from you two. We like the photos you have on your VPA page  - your yard and dogs!  You inspire us too!

  • Mary, in addition to the recipes Tracey and Doris shared try cutting the oil back and adding water.  Pulse all the ingredients first to get the blades going then add a couple of tablespoons of oil while the blades are running, then add a couple of tablespoons of water.  Add more oil and water a bit at a time. You want a mix that is more paste than dressing.  You can always add more oil or water.

    Years ago I began making my basic pesto with a mix of chopped green olives to extend the recipe because I had only a small amount of basil to begin with.

    Another way to go at it is to grind the basil as fine as you can, add just enough oil to coat well and freeze them as ice cubes.  When you want to make a batch thaw the cubes for the amount you want and add to the food processor with, garlic, nuts, cheese, a bit of salt and then add more oil/water to make the thickness you want.

    Thanks for posting - I need to go make some pesto!

    Oh, and variations on a theme.  I got this great idea from a restaurant story out of California years ago where they had their own garden and started making "pre-pestos" with left over fresh herbs and various oils to make different flavored pestos - at the end of the day they would combine them into a batch of mixed herbs and oils and create new combinations.

    Some themes they had and I came up with are:

    Rosemary and walnut oil.

    Cilantro and Sesame oil

    Thyme and grapeseed oil

    Lemony herbs like lemon verbena and avocado oil

    Any other ideas out there? :-)

    • This pesto recipe doesn't call for a huge amount of basil but...


      Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

      3 whole roasted and seeded sweet red bell peppers

      1/2 cup walnuts-toasted

      2 cloves of garlic, crushed

      1/2 cup parmesan cheese

      2 Tbsp basil

      1/3 cup olive oil

      Pulse all ingredients in food processor til just chunky and serve with pasta. Especially good with pan fried raviolis and sprinkle with parmesan. 


      I'm going to try it with some of Catherine's suggested combinations next time, thanks!


  • Mary

    for years I have been using the Olive Garden recipe.

  • I usually start with 1 C packed basil, add 2-3 cloves squeezed garlic. I put in blender and start slowly adding oil until it is thick and creamy, then add about 1/3 C grated Parmesan cheese. That seems to add enough salt flavor, and I don't add nuts due to the cost. Can't tell you how much oil I use, but just slowly add until it is creamy and thick, like a yogurt consistency. Adding the cheese at the end will soak up some of the extra oil if  you put in too much.

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