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Guest Post: Homemade Pesto

Guest Post by Hannah and Abby from Safely Gathered In

Basil is one of those plants that grows really well in all types of situations. You can even grow it indoors in a small pot.

Once your basil leaves have sprouted, pick
off all the leaves that look decent. (This is a job your little ones can
help with. Especially if it's the end of the season and the plant is
just going to die anyway!)

And then it's time to make some Homemade Pesto!

Homemade Pesto
from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

1/4 cup olive oil or cooking oil
1/2 cup walnuts and/or pine nuts

2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 tsp salt
black pepper

your basil and pat dry gently. Don't wash the leaves until you're ready
to make pesto. They mold easily if you don't get all the water off.

Peel a couple of cloves of garlic. You don't need to chop them since it's all going in the food processor.

Stuff your tiny food processor full of basil.

Add the garlic and Parmesan.

add the nuts. I've used pine nuts, walnuts, and almonds–toasted and
untoasted. You can pretty much use whatever you have available.

Add the oil.
Puree until smooth. Serve with crackers or pasta or just eat with a spoon.

Pick a container to store your pesto in.
Any tupperware or jar will do. To help the top from going brown, layer
a little olive oil over the top of the pesto before putting the lid on.

you aren't going to eat the Pesto right away, it will refrigerate for a few
weeks or freeze for at least eight months. I've had some in the freezer for much longer and it tasted just fine.
As with all food, the farther back in the freezer, the longer the food will last. If you'd like, you can freeze the pesto in ice cube trays and then, once frozen, remove these cubes to a freezer bag. Pop one of these pesto cubes into your hot cooked past for an easy, quick dinner!

Hannah and Abby share recipe ideas, food preservation
tutorials, and more information regarding food storage

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!


  • Julie says:

    I do my pesto with whatever tree nuts I have around . . . walnuts, almonds, or pine nuts! Also, if I am freezing, I add the cheese after I bring it out of the freezer, so that you can thaw it in the microwave without worrying about melting the cheese by accident. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the pesto!

  • Sandy says:

    It looks fabulous! I have never had pesto. Can anyone tell me what it tastes like?

  • Brooke says:

    This is a great idea, we love to make pesto. For a lower fat version, use only 2 or 3 T of olive oil and then use lemon juice or chicken stock for added moisture.

  • Emelie says:

    I loved this post. i’m definitely goining to try it!

  • Christy says:

    In the winter, I use pesto for recipes that call for fresh basil. It’s more affordable than paying $6 for basil at the grocery store in the winter months.

  • Kama says:

    Since visiting Italy last summer and having pesto pizza and pesto on my pasta, I’ve been wanting to learn how to make it since I haven’t found it in the grocery store (and I haven’t looked too hard). I haven’t looked online, so I’m so glad that this recipe fell into my lap! I’m definitely going to give it a try!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Katie H. says:

    I’ve been doing this for a few years now and it’s so so good. Just a tip: freeze pesto cubes in an ice tray then pop them out and store in doubled freezer bags. Just thaw as many as you need on the countertop for about an hour and you can even enjoy it in the winter months!

  • Jenny says:

    I’ve killed all of my basil–I live in the city with a southern facing exposure and balcony. If anyone has any advice not to repeat that this year would be great.

  • Jen says:

    This past weekend, we just finished our last meal of frozen pesto. It’s a good thing summer is almost here–time to grow more basil. We loved to serve pesto over pasta with chicken. Also great added to tomato sauces. Yum!

  • Stephanie says:

    We make Pesto quite a bit and find that you can also mix some Italian parsley and mint leaves in as well for great flavor. My husband is a huge pesto fan but you really have to love basil to like homemade pesto. I recommend growing basil if you have a chance since it grows easily and is often expensive in the grocery store.

  • thank you for your pesto recipe….makes me want to go make some right now and I have had dinner already!
    Looks so good! I plan on keeping a eye on your site..I, like everyone else, needs to save money these seem to help. thanks

  • jenny says:

    Sounds delicious! I have made pesto with spinach and walnuts and it is really good.

  • If the taste of the basil pesto is too much for you or your little ones, you can add some spinach leaves to the recipe to soften the flavor a bit. You can add half basil and half spinach or can use all spinach for the recipe. It freezes great!

  • That looks delicious! I just bought a Basil plant last weekend, and with all the rain in Atlanta, it has really taken off. Can’t wait to try this! The pictures are great. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Megan says:

    I love making homemade pesto too! I recently found Parmesan cheese at Aldi (in a wedge) for around $3. I’d recommend using this instead of the pre-shredded kind as it doesn’t have any anti-caking agents in it (thus it melts better) and it tastes better than the canned stuff – even though it’s relatively cheap Parm. Thanks for the recipe!

  • lee says:

    I think I may buy some basil for my garden I am starting. I hope my boys like it!

  • Michelle says:

    I will add that if you use a fresh block of parmesan and grate it yourself, the taste is even better!

    Also, you can put the pesto into a zipper freezer bag and freeze it flat. They stack perfectly and you can just break off what you need from the larger sheet. Since it is thinner, it also thaws faster.

  • Melissa says:

    Thank you for posting this recipe! I’m so excited because we just started a new garden- and I planted Basil, which I love to add to my pasta (or fresh on pizza!). I haven’t ever made homemade pesto, but this looks so easy! I didn’t realize that it was made with nuts, that is so interesting. I will definitely be trying this once my basil is ready.

  • Celia says:

    Did you know you can also make this with flat leaf parsley?

  • Tammy says:

    We also use spinach instead of fresh basil, mainly because I often use up all of my fresh basil in other cooking (and I can’t seem to grow a large basil plant for a big harvest. Sigh.).
    If you use spinach, don’t forget to add in dried basil. I even prefer using walnuts or pecans, as they are cheaper than, and just as flavorful as pine nuts. We use our pesto on sandwich wraps, mixed with mayo on a fancy veggie or chicken/artichoke sandwich, as well as on pasta. YUM!

  • Julie says:

    I’m sure you’ve seen how much a small jar of basil pesto costs in the store (sometimes around $5!)–whenever I spy a jar in my friends’ fridges I literally cringe, thinking of the cost.

    Last summer I planted about 40 plants in my small suburban backyard and ended up with 1.5 GALLONS of pesto. It is sooooo good.

    Here’s the post:

  • Fairy Dust says:

    Yum!! I love homemade pesto – can’t wait for my basil to grow 🙂 Thanks for the great how-to and pics!

  • julie says:

    I love homemade pesto, too! I make a very simple and yummy pasta salad with pasta, pepperoni, chunks of mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and enough pesto to cover it all. You can also make simple pesto pizzas by spreading pizza dough with pesto instead of tomato-based sauce. Yum!

  • Kama says:

    I just made this pesto for dinner and served it on angel hair with grilled chicken. Boy was it yummy!!!! The pine nuts were a little expensive, but we sprinkled some on the top like they do at Brio. It was great! I have enough for another meal!! YUM!

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