Quick and Simple Fresh Pesto Recipe

By | May 23, 2013

fresh pesto recipe

Now that the weather has finally warmed up and is staying warm, my basil plants are flourishing.  That means it’s time to pull out my favorite fresh pesto recipe.  I love to use it on pizza, as a sauce for pasta, and on sandwiches.  It is quick and easy to make using a food processor.

Traditional pesto originated in Italy and was originally made with a mortar and pestle.  The basil leaves were pounded to make a paste.  Fortunately for us, making pesto is much easier these days.  With a food processor, you can whip up a batch in just minutes.

While traditional pesto recipes call for pine nuts, I use walnuts.  They are less expensive than pine nuts and I don’t notice much of a difference in the taste.

Fresh Pesto Recipe


  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor.  Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Store in the refrigerator with a thin layer of olive oil on the top to help keep it from browning.  Makes about 1 cup of pesto.

Want to enjoy the taste of fresh pesto year-round?  This fresh pesto recipe can be frozen.  I like to freeze mine in ice cube trays.  Freezing them in cubes makes it so easy to thaw the right amount needed for recipes.  Most ice cube trays hold 1 or 2 tablespoons per cube.

Once frozen, pop out the cubes and transfer to a freezer bag.  I use a straw to remove as much air from the bag as possible before I seal it. You can store your pesto cubes for up to 6 months in the freezer.

My favorite use for this fresh pesto recipe is on pizza.  I top it with chicken and red bell peppers.  Yum!  So tell me… Do you love pesto?  What is your favorite use for pesto?


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