Homemade Pesto

I’m a big fan of “make your own ___________.”

I love getting to experiment and learn what goes in different dishes, sauces, condiments, etc. When you make your own, you know exactly what ingredients are going in, which gives you control over the quality and quantity of those ingredients. I’ve also found that it helps me taste the individual components and flavors, more so than if I just picked up some pesto from the store. It also gives you the freedom to try variations on the same recipe, such as changing the type of greens or nuts you use to make pesto. For example, I’m going to try making this recipe with walnuts instead of pine nuts and arugula instead of basil to see what it’s like.

Here’s what I learned my first time around making homemade pesto:

  • You absolutely should get a mini-food processor for sauces, salad dressings, pesto, etc. if you love experimenting in the kitchen. Up until recently, I had been using my VitaMix for all blending needs. However, it simply cannot blend small quantities of food very well since it’s blade is a little too high. Here’s the mini-food processor that I got recently from Target, and I am SO happy with it. It’s easy to use, works so well, and it’s dishwasher-safe (top rack)!
  • Don’t add too much garlic. The recipe that I used called for 3 cloves, and I found that it was way too much. I had to try and save it by adding more basil and parmesan.
  • Definitely use a liquid measuring cup to pour the olive oil into the food processor as you’re pulsing the other ingredients together. The first time I made this pesto I was using a dry measuring cup for the olive oil (mistake!) and it ran down the outside of the food processor, and it was just a disaster. LIQUID MEASURING CUP FOR LIQUIDS!
  • Finally, you can make it as chunky or as smooth as you like!

I enjoyed my homemade pesto in a Pesto Chicken & Veggie recipe that I’ll be sharing soon! For now, ENJOY!


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • ⅓ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic or 1 tsp minced (roasted or fresh)
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp each salt and fresh ground pepper

Click here for full recipe details.

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