Making Pesto From Scratch Is Easy, Here’s How

The traditional way to make pesto is with a mortar and pestle but here are two tasty versions (one for basil and the other for rosemary) that you can make with your food processor. I’ve also added a video showing you how to make it with a mortar and pestle along with a few other tips below.

Wooden BowlClassic Basil
Source: Rosalind Creasy’s Recipes from the Garden

3 garlic cloves
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  • Combine in a blender or food processor garlic, basil leaves, nuts, salt, pepper and half the oil.
  • Puree slowly adding the remaining oil.
  • Transfer mixture to a bowl and add grated cheese, mix thoroughly.
  • Makes approximately 1 1/4 cups.

Source: Preserving Summer’s Bounty By Susan McClure

1 clove garlic
1/2 cup fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 cup chopped scallions
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • With a food processor running, put the garlic, oregano, rosemary, and orange rind through the feed tube. Stop the processor and scrape down the sides of the container.
  • Turn the machine on again, add scallions and pepper flakes, then the oil and vinegar. Stop and scrape down the sides of the container.
  • Continue processing with on/off turns until the rosemary is well minced and the mixture has formed a paste.
  • Yield: 1/2 cup

Here’s a good video showing you how to make the traditional pesto genovese using a mortar and pestle. The video is a little long at just under ten minutes, but there’s a lot of info and tips shared, worthwhile watching.

Serving Ideas

  • With Pasta: Approximately 1 to 2 tablespoons pesto per pasta serving. You may need to add some warm water to make the right consistency (use the water pasta was cooked in).
  • Vegetable Soups: Try a teaspoon or two in minestrone, bean or vegetable soups.
  • Rice: Stir into cooked rice and serve, or use as a rice stuffing for vegetables.
  • Meat & Fish: Use as a condiment on cooked meat and fish, lovely!
  • As A Spread: Use on bruschetta, focaccia and breads as a spread.

How To Store

  • Cover with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container and refrigerate.
  • As mentioned in 10 Easy Ways To Preserve Herbs, small containers of pesto can be frozen for later use. You can also freeze in ice cube trays, remove cubes once frozen then store in freezer bags.

Related Posts


    • Victoria

    Pesto made on the thick side is awesoem used instead of mayo. Especially on a fresh tomoato sandwich. Add some alfalfa sprouts for a new twist on a classic.

      • Melbie

      Added to basic ranch dressing makes similar to what is served at Old Spaghetti Factory. Yum!

    • Alexandra

    1 and 1/4 cups is not enough pesto.

    Please take that into consideration.

    Thank you.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *