Fresh Basil Pesto

Whenever I make pesto, I always try to make a huge batch. Because there’s nothing more disappointing than eating pasta that doesn’t have enough sauce on it!

If you don’t have a food processor, a blender works fine. If you don’t have either- hope your knife skills are excellent!

Ingredients were all from Trader Joes:

  • 2 containers fresh basil
  • 2-3 cloves fresh peeled garlic
  • 1 lemon squeezed
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 large handful of pine nuts
  • 4 heaping tablespoons of parmesan cheese
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil

Chop up a few cloves of garlic (I used 3 for this batch)

chopping pepper

Now add the basil. Make sure to leave off the stems. You can see I left one on! Woops!

leafy greens

Make sure to scrap down the sides…

scrap down the sides

Now, start adding your olive oil.

I added a little over 1/4 cup of the oil to get the consistency I wanted.

whizzz bang whirl twirl pesto

I tossed in a handful of pine nuts (they’re even better when toasted)

adding pine nuts

I added 1 fresh squeezed lemon to the mix (prevents discoloration)

A dash of cayenne pepper for spice.

Some fresh ground pepper to even out the flavor….

Now put about 4 heaping tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. (Skip this part if you’re vegan)

The cheese is in place of salt.  It adds a LOT of flavor. Mix that all up!

adding pepper, cayenne & parm cheese

Now we have some pesto!

presto! pesto!

When I made dinner the other night, I added some of the pesto to my shrimp (with red pepper & olive oil) to make jazz them up before grilling:

added some pesto on the shrimp

I put those on skewers (4 to a skewer-except 1 had 5!)

read to go on the grill

I grilled them on high heat for about 2-3 minutes per side!

grilled pesto shrimp

I think this weekend I’m going to have a slice of bread toast with pesto on it. Stay tuned.

  • Samantha

    This looks amazing! I have made a recipe like this before & your right, it’s best to make a big batch. But since it’s just my hubby & I do you think it would freeze well?

  • Tracy

    samantha! I was meaning to mention freezing. Yes it does freeze well. You can put it in little baggies-sealed up tight! Just leave on on the counter for awhile and then you are all set to use it again!

    or you can put some in ice cube trays- freeze them and put the little blocks into a bag so you can use 1 cube at a time.

  • Samantha

    Sweet, then I’m off to Trader Joe’s! Thank you!

  • monica

    I have always wanted to make pesto and I’m so making some for our holidays.Funny, I was just craving fresh basil! I got a Cuisinart for myself for Christmas!

  • Kelly

    Hmmm . . . I adore pesto, but never had a recipe for it. Thank you! Can’t wait to try it out!

  • Crystal Bee

    trader joe’s actually makes an excellent jarred basil pesto. i used it last night as sauce on a couple homemade pizzas. the best one i made had chicken, gorgonzola, bacon and pear slices on it. was good pizza. is good pesto.

  • veronica

    I came across this recipe and made it and the garlic ginger butter last night. Both delicious and I’m very sad that I’ve been making such inferior pesto my entire adult life. Normally I don’t come home for lunch but today I did just so I could have toast with a large serving of the pesto. Adding so much cheese was genious and adding the lemon seemed to make it hold together better and have a less oily consistency. Thank you so much

  • Grilled Refried Bean and Pesto Sandwich with Homemade Tomato Soup | The Frosted Vegan

    […] first, we assemble and grill, easy enough! I always keep a batch of pesto in the freezer (this is my go-to recipe).  Typically I blend up a batch and freeze it in ice cube trays.  This way, […]

  • Liz

    I want to make this using my fresh basil plant–about how much basil is in two containers of Trader Joe’s basil? I don’t have a TJ’s nearby (more’s the pity). Also, if I want to omit the parmesan, how much salt should I add instead? Thanks!

    • Tracy

      You should have about two bunches to make this recipe. As for omitting the Parmesan, I’d say to start with a half teaspoon of kosher and continually taste/season to your liking. Good luck!

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