This classic Italian sauce is rich and intense.

Yield 1½ cups
Time 10 minutes
  • food processor or chopping knife
  • large bowl
  • wooden spoon
  • 2 c fresh basil, packed
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ c pine nuts or chopped walnuts
  • ½ c grated parmesan cheese
  • 5-6 T olive oil or hemp oil
Directions If you have a food processor, put everything but the olive oil in and process until finely chopped, stopping the machine periodically to scrape down the sides as needed. Stir in the olive oil and serve.

If you don’t have a food processor, chop the basil until it is dark green, pasty, and no longer resembles basil (about 5 minutes). Mix basil with the other ingredients and serve.

Notes Be sure to use good parmesan and oil – there’s no point in eating pesto that’s not made with the best ingredients available.

Serve over pasta or with bread and cheese. Also try in "red, white, and green" pâté explained in the Notes section of my sun-dried tomato pâté recipe.

After you pull the basil leaves off, save the stems to make basil oil.

Pesto freezes beautiful, so we make big batches during the summer and freeze it so that we can enjoy it throughout the winter. We spoon the pesto into ice cube trays, then transfer the frozen cubes to plastic bags. Then it’s a simple matter of thawing it to use in things like pesto pizza and pesto tofu, and it’s also great on top of bagels.

Also see recipe for pistou (vegan pesto).

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