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Classic Pesto

By November 11, 2020No Comments
IMG 7552 1


IMG 7552 1

Classic Pesto

Amanda Haas
Pesto is one of my absolute favorite condiments. Whether it’s slathered over grilled chicken or shrimp, used as a dressing for salads, or served with crudités for dipping, this pesto packs a punch of nutritional benefits. I love using it on this crudités platter with my curry-spiced nuts for some lighter holiday fare before the main events! Basil is also loaded with anti-inflammatory properties. Typically pesto has Parmigiano-Reggiano for added richness and tang, but I’ve left this version free of cheese if you prefer.  To add cheese, simply fold in 1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano after blending. 
I like to use pine nuts in this traditional version, but you can certainly substitute unsalted and toasted slivered almonds or unsalted pistachios if desired..  Also, because this version is dairy free, it freezes really well.  You can freeze this recipe in an ice cube tray and pop out a cube whenever you’re in need of an extra boost of flavor! 
Photo: Andee McKenzie
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins


  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and any green pieces removed
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups firmly packed basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp unsalted pine nuts, roasted
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp water, optional
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano- Reggiano, optional


  • In a food processor or blender, pulse the garlic, salt and pepper a few times and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add the basil leaves, pine nuts, and lemon juice.
  • Pulse about 10 times, until the basil leaves have started to break up, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  • With the motor running, pour the olive oil into the basil mixture in a slow stream, allowing it to come together as a sauce. You may need to scrape down the sides once or twice to ensure all of the basil is incorporated.  
  • Once the basil is finely chopped and all of the oil is incorporated, taste the pesto.  Add more salt if desired to enhance flavor, and water if you prefer a thinner basil.  Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.


Makes about 1 cup of pesto
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!