Pesto Sauce (Basil Sauce)

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Pesto sauce is like a dream come true for me. My favorite herb to grow, cook with, and eat is basil. I just love its flavor and aroma; both have this incredible ability to set the mood for whatever I’m making.

Pesto Sauce

Whether it’s a basil sauce pizza that has me imagining the Amalfi coast, or a white bean soup with a drizzle of sauce giving me visions of Avignon, basil has a transportive quality.


Pesto sauce is typically made with fresh basil, pine nuts, parmesan, and olive oil. A French variation of pesto sauce is called pistou, which typically lacks nuts. 

I do, however, love the nutty quality of pesto, so if I don’t have pine nuts on hand, I’ll often add walnuts as a substitute.

I just really enjoy the extra bit of texture and flavor the nuts give the pesto sauce.


The first time I made my own basil sauce at home, my sister was shocked. My sister isn’t an avid cook so she usually thinks that any food made from scratch is a real hassle or too intimidating for the occasional cook.

If you can relate, then this pesto sauce recipe will completely change your perspective. If you have a mortar and pestle, then making your own pesto sauce is as easy as tossing the ingredients straight into the mortar and crushing them with the pestle.

Alternatively, you can toss the ingredients right into your food processor. As with all recipes, the key is to use fresh, quality ingredients, including fresh basil and high quality extra virgin olive oil.

The result is an effortless, yet, tantalizing pesto sauce that you can use for a variety of dishes.


Pesto Sauce

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

A basil sauce that's perfect for pastas, spaghetti, chicken and fish, and soups. Enough sauce to coat a package of cooked spaghetti. 


  • 2 cups basil, packed
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan or pecorino
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil


  1. Add the garlic and nuts to a mortar, or to your food processor. Grind until you get fine crumbs.
  2. Add the basil to the mix, and grind until it's crushed into a green-looking paste. Add the cheese, then mix until combined.
  3. Add a pinch of sea salt and a couple of tablespoons of good olive oil. Give the mixture a stir, then taste test for salt. Add more, if needed. Pesto sauce should be thick and paste-like, as it will loosen up and coat pasta once it's warmed. If you prefer a runnier basil sauce, stream in more olive oil gradually until desired consistency is achieved.


As an alternative to pine nuts, you can use 1/2 cup walnuts. If you don't have any nuts, you can make the French version of pesto sauce called pistou.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 307



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  1. Merci for the reminder to use my basil in this fabulous way! I like to use it on a homemade pizza dough as a substitute for tomato sauce with shrimp tossed in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. A heaping tablespoon of pesto is enough as the oil can prevent crisping of the bottom crust. Top with some drained roasted plum or sun dried tomatoes and a little shredded mozzarella. Bake and eat. Divine!

  2. What a bright and vibrant pesto. I love making my own pesto. Something about chopping all the ingredients is relaxing for me. I’ve been meaning to experiment a bit more with my pesto. . .because there are so many possibilities . I love your addition of walnuts.

    1. Thanks so much, Lynn! The walnuts are fantastic – definitely give them a try! 🙂

  3. La sauce au pesto fait avec des feuilles du basilic c’est un de mes préférés ! Elle a le parfum de l’été! Bon weekend Beeta! xoxo

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