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Alice's Homemade Pesto

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

I fell in love with pesto back in college. I had it at a little Italian place and eventually found a recipe somewhere that I copied down on a piece of paper and since then have made for home and catering events, equally thousands of people over the years. When I am not catering, I always double the recipe and freeze it in batches so I have it on hand all the time. My daughter's friends LOVE this pesto in a cold pesto pasta salad, which I made in advance of our last camping trip and they ate it for several days in a row!

This is super simple to make with only 5 ingredients and if you love to grow fresh herbs this is the perfect recipe to use all that basil!

Note: The recipe calls for pine nuts, but I have subbed in almonds, sunflower seeds or pecans.

Here is a list of a few ways I love to use this pesto:

Pesto Pasta Salad

In Turkey burgers

In meatballs (see my saucy cheesy meatballs blog post)

Mixed into an aioli for a pesto mayo

On a panini with mozzarella and sliced tomatoes

In stuffed mushrooms

Anywhere you need a flavorful boost!


  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves

  • ½ cup pine nuts (or almonds, sunflower seeds or pecans or a combination)

  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ cup parmesan cheese

  • ½ cup olive oil


  • Blend basil, nuts, garlic, and salt in a food processor and process until it becomes a paste.

  • Add the parmesan and process.

  • Slowly add the olive oil with the processor running. I like to use a funnel in the top of the food processor tube to avoid spilling oil over the side of the machine.

  • Season with salt and pepper to taste

  • Enjoy in pasta or mixed into your favorite burger, sauce, mayo, etc. The options are endless.


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