Dairy-free and fresh, this recipe for basil pine nut pesto is a summertime food fave. Easily add to grilled vegetables or for marinating chicken – it’s not just for pasta!
Bulk Bin Pine Nuts
Start with pine nuts bought from your local grocery store or health food store. They’re often cheaper in the bulk bins so shop around for a good price. You’ll need ¼ cup toasted over medium high heat in a small pan. Careful, don’t burn them!
When they turn golden and smell real good you can remove them from the heat and place in a small bowl to cool.
Basil by the handfuls
While I’ve been a fan of pesto for awhile, I’ve not been a fan of buying basil from the grocery store. It’s so much cheaper to have your own basil plant grown from home. Whether in a pot or in the ground, I highly recommend this.
But, since many of us lack a fragrant garden out back, I’ll be making this basil pine nut pesto from one of those unpotted basil plants from my grocery store.
Wash and remove the basil leaves to equal about 2 large handfuls (or 2 soup bowls full). Notice how I took the plant out of the bag, chopped off the bottom to keep the dirt from getting everywhere and simply plucked the leaves from the stems.
Put 1 handful of basil into a food processor along with 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Give it a few pulses to chop down the basil and then add the second handful along with the pine nuts. Blend until it becomes a sauce.
You may want to thin it out a bit with some water if you find it to be too thick. Add 1 tablespoon at a time until it becomes a good saucy texture for spooning over whatever you like! Add a bit more salt to taste or a dash of pepper and you got yourself about 1 cup of basil pine nut pesto sauce!
It’s done! So easy, right? You can add it immediately to whatever floats your boat or store it in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 5 days. This basil pine nut pesto is also freeze-easy, my friends. I really like the technique of freezing the sauce in ice cube trays and then popping them out into a plastic bag. Whoever came up with that idea is genius.
Did you know that pesto can be made different ways? Try out some of these non-traditional recipes to see which ones suit you and your family best.
Unique Pesto Recipes
- Arugula Walnut Pesto – by As Easy As Apple Pie
- Lemon Balm Pesto – by Vintage Kitty
- Garlic Scape Pesto – by Suppertime Blues
- Spicy Kale Pesto – by The Cooks Pyjamas
- Avocado Basil Pesto – by Lemon Thymes
- 1-Minute Low-FODMAP Pesto – by Real Balanced
Family Meals with Pesto
- Mushroom and Chicken Penne with Walnut Pesto (GF) – by Recipes Worth Repeating
- Arugula Pesto Prosciutto and Tomato Pizza – by The Rustic Foodie
- Carrot Top and Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pasta – by Erica Julson
- Easy Grilled Chicken Pesto Kebabs – by Paleo Paparazzi
- Savory Raw Pesto Salad – by Foodal
- 2 large handfuls (2 small plants)
- ½ cup pine nuts
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Toast pine nuts over medium high heat in a small pan - about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, dump into a small bowl and set aside to cool.
- Wash and remove the leaves off a fresh basil plant (or 2 small plants from the grocery store) to make 2 large handfuls.
- Put 1 handful of basil into a food processor along with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, fresh lemon juice, and salt. Give it a few pulses to chop down the basil and then add the second handful along with the pine nuts. Blend until it becomes a sauce. If it’s too thick add water 1 tablespoon at a time until the consistency is right. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for later.