Tips on how to make and freeze delicious homemade pesto made with fresh sweet basil, a blend of walnuts and pine nuts, garlic and extra virgin olive oil.
I have a ton of beautiful basil in my garden right now, so I decided to make a big batch of homemade pine nut pesto so that I can enjoy it throughout the year. I LOVE pine nuts in pesto. Pine nut pesto is the classic version, but I'll often use a blend of walnuts and pine nuts for this recipe. It really comes down to your flavor preference.
This is adapted from Ina Garten's recipe. Pesto is so easy, so don't be afraid to make it yourself. Also, a huge cost saving when you grow your own basil. Delicious!
Ingredients you'll need
Start with fresh basil leaves. I always grow it in the summer so I have it readily available for all my favorite recipes.
You'll also need:
- Nuts- I use a blend of pine nuts and walnuts. Pine nuts are the go-to for classic pesto sauce, but can be expensive. I love the flavor of the blended nuts, and you get a different nutritional profile from each nut variety.
- Fresh garlic- a must for pesto!
- Parmigiano Reggiano cheese- Use block cheese for the best flavor. If you are using it right away or storing it in the refrigerator, then add the cheese. Otherwise, add the cheese when using if you are planning the freeze the sauce for the best results.
- Olive oil- good quality extra virgin olive oil is a must here.
- Salt and pepper- Season with coarse salt and pepper, to taste.
How To Make Pesto In A Food Processor (So Easy!)
Separate the basil leaves from the hard stems. Place into a large salad spinner filled with cold water. Soak leaves for a few seconds to clean. Rinse and spin to dry the leaves.
Place basil leaves and garlic in a food processor and process until leaves are finely chopped. As you can see, I have doubled my recipe.
Add the nuts and process until well blended.
Add the parmesan cheese (unless you are freezing) and process until combined. With the machine running, add olive oil in a slow, steady stream. After the oil is incorporated, turn off the processor and add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour into freezer containers and freeze or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator with a small layer of olive oil on top to keep the pesto from turning dark. Pesto will only last up to three days in the refrigerator, so if you don't need to use it right away, it's best to freeze it.
How to freeze pesto sauce
I prefer to leave the parmesan out when freezing. It doesn't freeze as well when you add the cheese, and it's simple to add it later when using it for your favorite recipes.
Divide the homemade pesto sauce into freezer-safe jars with a small layer of olive oil on the top, or press a small piece of plastic wrap on top to prevent discoloration. I freeze it in ½ cup serving sizes(perfect for pizza or pasta) in small jar freezer containers. It keeps beautifully for 9-12 months in the freezer this way. Just thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using. You can also freeze it in ice cube trays and place the frozen pesto cubes in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 6 months.
How to use pesto sauce
It is delicious as a pizza sauce, a sandwich topping (it's amazing on roasted vegetable sandwiches!), or tossed with your favorite pasta. I also love to rub it on chicken breasts and grill. Mix it into dips, drizzle it into tomato basil soup, make lasagna with pesto sauce, toss it with roasted vegetables, and stir it into scrambled eggs for a flavor boost.
More delicious pesto recipes
If you love this pesto sauce recipe and find these tips helpful, I would be so grateful if you could leave a 5-star 🌟 rating in the recipe card below. I love reading your comments and feedback!
Easy Pesto with Pine Nuts and Walnuts
- 4 cups sweet basil leaves packed
- 4 cloves garlic lightly crushed and peeled
- ½ cup pine nuts lightly toasted
- ½ cup walnuts lightly toasted
- 1 ½ cups freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese block is best for flavor *see note for freezing
- 1 ½ cups good quality extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Separate the basil leaves from the hard stems and place into a large salad spinner filled with cold water.
- Soak leaves for a few seconds to clean. Rinse and spin to dry the leaves.
- Place basil leaves and garlic in a food processor and process until leaves are finely chopped.
- Add the nuts and process until well blended.
- Add cheese (unless you are freezing) and process until combined.
- With the machine running, add olive oil in a slow, steady stream.
- After the oil is incorporated, turn off the processor and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour in freezer containers and freeze or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator with a small layer of olive oil on top to keep pesto from turning dark.
- Easy Orange Glazed Croissants Recipe with Crescent Rolls - November 28, 2023
- Easy Pancake Mix Cookies (Gluten-Free Option) - November 27, 2023
- Chocolate Protein Pancakes - November 20, 2023