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Simple Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce

Nothing compares to the aroma and flavors of fresh homemade basil pesto sauce. Easier to make than you think and so much better than store-bought. Perfect to use on your pasta, pizza or as a dip and spread.

Fresh Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce

When I can, I usually prefer to make my own Pesto sauce. That has not been always the case. I used to be a slave to the costly bottled pesto from the store. Until I learned how easy it is to make.

And because I love pesto so much, I learned how to grow basil myself. Good thing they are easy to grow and can be grown almost anywhere. With all the love and care I can give, my basil plants keep on giving me nice and plenty of leaves. So I can make a jar after jar of basil pesto sauce with this very simple recipe.

Homemade Pesto Sauce

What is in Basil Pesto?

The classic basil pesto traditionally consists of:

  • basil leaves
  • garlic
  • pine nuts
  • hard cheese
  • salt
  • olive oil

I usually use almonds instead of pine nuts as this is more easily available and I (almost) always have some in our pantry. You can also use walnuts, pistachios or even pumpkin or sunflower seeds if you like.

Parmesan cheese is also most commonly used but you can use other hard cheese like Romano or Asiago. But you may want to adjust the amount as they vary in sharpness.

I do not use salt in my basil pesto, I use fish sauce instead. And no, it does not smell or tastes fishy at all. But taste so much better than just using salt. Fish sauce adds an umami flavor to food, so if you haven’t, I recommend you give it a try.

Ingredients for making Pesto sauce

How to make Pesto Sauce?


  1. Place the nuts in a blender or food processor and pulse several times to grind into bits.
  2. Add the basil, garlic and Parmesan cheese and pulse again several times.
  3. Pour oil and season with pepper and salt or fish sauce.
  4. Pulse several times more until desired consistency is achieved.
  5. Transfer to a bowl or a jar with lid.

You can make it as smooth as you like or a little coarse and chunky if that is what you like.

What can you do with Basil Pesto Sauce?

Having this simple basil pesto recipe in your kitchen arsenal will get you a long way. 

When pressed for time, I just toss cooked pasta with some pesto and it is good to go. But when I have more time, I make Tuna Pesto pasta or this lovely Pesto Pasta with scallops! It is absolutely delicious!

Pesto Pasta with Scallops

You can also use it to make these delicious party appetizers or snack, Puff pastry sticks. Just spread and slice the puff pastry, twist and then bake.

Puff Pastry Sticks with Pesto or Bacon and Cheese

I also like to add some to my pizza or simply just as spread on my toast and add more parmesan cheese on top and make a sandwich.

It is perfect for dipping your favorite crusty bread as well.

You can also use it to add flavor to grilled meat and fish or to your salads.

Simple Basil Pesto Recipe

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Homemade pesto Sauce
5 from 1 vote

Simple Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce

This is really a very simple and easy-to-follow recipe for Basil Pesto Sauce. Perfect sauce for pasta, as a spread or for adding flavor to fish and salads.
Print Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American,European
Keyword: basil pesto recipe
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 1143kcal
Author: Bebs
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated almonds
  • 3 cloves garlic


  • Place the nuts in a blender or food processor and pulse several times to grind into bits.
  • Add the basil, garlic and Parmesan cheese and pulse again several times. Scrape down the side of the food processor with a spoon or spatula. 
  • Pour oil and season with pepper and salt or fish sauce. Pulse several times more until desired consistency is achieved.
  • Transfer to a bowl or a jar with lid.



If fish sauce is not available you may use 1 teaspoon of salt or more.
You may also use whole almonds (6-8 pieces) but I suggest you pulse it first in the blender then add the rest.
Nutrition Facts
Simple Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1143 Calories from Fat 1089
% Daily Value*
Fat 121g186%
Saturated Fat 17g85%
Cholesterol 8mg3%
Sodium 1571mg65%
Potassium 370mg11%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 2620IU52%
Vitamin C 11.5mg14%
Calcium 265mg27%
Iron 2.9mg16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe? Tell us how it went. Tag us at @foxyfolksy or leave a comment and rating below.

This basil pesto recipe was originally published on January 2014. Updated to include new photos and additional info.



Bebs here! I love to cook and try new things and DIY projects! And although I think of myself as a homebody, I like seeing other places from time to time.
If you are looking for a recipe and it ain't here, make a request and I will try my best to make it for you!

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