A header shot of a bowl of pesto on a wood table. There's also fresh basil strewn about.

Simple Pesto

Pesto is a wonderful thing. Though this one uses fairly traditional ingredients, the beauty of pesto is that you can use all manner of kitchen scraps to throw one together. For instance, I recently used dandelion greens and walnuts to make a delicious pesto!

They’re basically sub heaven. Don’t have pine nuts? Use almonds or pistachios. Don’t have basil? Use carrot tops or kale! Don’t have lemon juice? A dash of vinegar will do. While this pesto includes parmesan cheese, you can easily vegan-ize yours with nutritional yeast.

Oh, and perhaps best of all, pestos don’t really require specific ingredient amounts. For the sake of delivering a usable recipe, I’ll be specific here. Normally, however, I go with a pinch of this and a dash of that.


Simple Pesto


  • 3 cups Fresh basil (loosely packed)
  • 1/2 cup Pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil


  • Toast your pine nuts. Trust me, you don't want to skip this step. To do this, put them in a small pan over medium heat, tossing every so often so they don't burn. This should only take a few minutes. You'll know they're done when they take on a slightly golden hue and have a nutty aroma. They'll also start to look a bit sweaty.
  • Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl of a food processor. Then add the lemon juice. Pulse the ingredients while slowly pouring in the olive oil until they're well combined but not completely puréed.

And that’s it! As the title promises, this recipe is quite simple. And it’ll make a good amount of pesto. Seriously – I was able to dress a box of pasta with half and save the rest for later. This is by design, as this sauce is just excellent to have around. It’s great on pasta (obviously), bread, sandwiches, with roasted veggies, and any number of things. Seriously, you’ll thank me for the fridge sauce later.

If you give it a try, let me know in the comments or on Instagram! I always love hearing from you and seeing your beautiful work.

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