Basil Pesto

Fresh Basil and Pine Nut Deliciousness will delight family and friends alike! Pesto is a great accompaniment to simple and elaborate dishes alike. And it always brings a flavor punch!

Basil Pesto

Print Recipe
Cuisine American, Italian, Mediterranean, Vegan, WFPB
Keyword Basil, Easy, Fresh, Oil-free
Servings 4
Cost $12-15


  • Blender or food processor
  • Measuring cups and spoons


  • 2 cups packed fresh basil large stems removed
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts or walnuts  see notes if avoiding oil or nuts
  • 3 lg garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp emon juice fresh squeezed
  • 3-4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, or pink salt more or less, to taste
  • 3-6 tbsp water
  • 1/4-1/5 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)


  • To a food processor or small blender, add the basil, nuts, garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and sea salt and 4 Tbs water.
  • Scraping down the sides of the blender jar as needed, blend on high until a loose paste forms.
  • Then add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) water at a time until the desired consistency is reached – a thick but pourable sauce.
  • Serve over parboiled zucchini noodles or other pasta.
  • Garnish with *chopped pine nuts *crushed red pepper flakes (the chili piquin variety peppers for this because of their smokey, roasted flavor) * finely chopped fresh spinach leaves* fresh parsley sprig
  • Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 1 week.


One of the most important things to know about Basil Pesto is NEVER cook it.  It will turn dark and have an unpleasant taste if heated so it is most captivating raw. To have it as a hot dish,  prepare it just before serving. Let is stay at room temperature and serve it on top of the thoroughly heated noodles. That way you avoid the unpleasantries. You also preserve the crunch of any unchopped pine nuts and the essential nature of the fresh basil. If you are nut, seed, or oil-free, try cannellini beans instead of the pine nuts, or if you can use seeds, try sunflower seeds. The taste will definitely be different. Test and adjust the flavor as needed, gradually adding more water to reduce stickiness, nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor, salt for overall flavor, garlic for bite/zing, or lemon juice for acidity.

Leave a Reply