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Quick And Easy Pesto Recipes: How To Use Fresh Basil To Make A Delicious Pesto Sauce

Updated on February 28, 2011

Culinary Basics - How to Make Fresh Pesto Sauce

For you, HOLLE

One of the most delicious dishes for using up fresh basil is pesto sauce. This pesto sauce is by far my favorite and the easiest one I’ve ever made.

My daughter, Kate substituted spinach for half of the basil one time and the result was just as delicious.

I grow my own basil and have it on hand throughout the summer. I quadruple this recipe and then drop by teaspoons and tablespoons onto a cookie sheet. I put the sheet in the freezer until the balls of pesto are frozen and then transfer to a freezer zip-lock bag.

You can also freeze in ice cube trays of varying sizes or long strip ice cube trays.

When I need fresh pesto sauce for any recipe, I thaw out the appropriate amount and presto (or pesto) – I have fresh sauce in the correct amount.



Nutrition Facts

Calories 5

Calories from fat 46

Total fat 5 gm

Saturated fat 1 g

Cholesterol 1 mg

Sodium 28 mg

Total carbs 1 g

Dietary fiber 0 g

Protein 1 g

Exchange approximation – Fat 1


8 servings – 1/2 cup per serving at most


  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves or substitute part spinach leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts (roast them first if desired in a dry skillet)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese or similar cheese
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor or a blender. Process until almost smooth.
  2. Pour the oil through the feed tube with the food processor or blender running at the slowest speed.
  3. Process until blended.

Recipe courtesy The New Family Cookbook for People with Diabetes


  • Pesto sauce packs a powerful punch and you don’t need much of it.
  • Use it to flavor pasta but a little bit goes a long way.
  • Use as a base sauce on pizza or flat bread pizza.
  • Use as a sauce for grilled fish or chicken.
  • You can also add sun-dried tomatoes to it and make a sun-dried tomato pesto!
  • Use it as a dressing for mozzarella and tomato salad.
  • Combine with chicken and vegetables and make chicken salad.
  • Spread on bread instead of garlic butter.
  • Add a dab to scrambled eggs or quiche.
  • Spread a wee bit on in place of mayo in any sandwich.


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    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Ha, ha Spanky!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Aww...thanks, Buckie! You're the bestest! The pesto sounds awesome, too!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks again, Pamela - this is so easy and so delicious! I hate wasting any basil because I love it so figured out if I used the entire bunch I could freeze it! Works just wonderfully defrosting in little dabs.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      akirchner, I love basil and this is a great sounding pesto, plus I love the freezing idea. Another great hub.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Hello, hello - thanks for stopping in - I try to freeze just about everything once to see how it does!

      Thanks, Alek for stopping by - and yes - I had 2 kinds growing last year. I have a bit of a problem growing it here because our nights get so cold even in summer and basil is not happy with really cold weather. We've had a snap of pouring rain and it is looking like it wishes I had left it inside!

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 7 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      I love Basil. I use it a lot. Did you know there are several different kinds? The one you have here, I think, is Sweet Basil. There's a purple variety that makes a beautiful garnish. One year I think I had 5 kinds growing on my deck, but I like the Sweet the best; the one you talk about and have pictured here.

      So glad you put in the "freezing" tip. Great idea....I didn't know that. Thanks, ak.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      A great tip about freezing. Thank you.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      I'm not so sure brilliant is the word - but thank you as always sweet pea! Basil is my all time favorite to add to everything - except the bath. I haven't found yet that it helps!

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 7 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      I favor basil, sweet basil it the best, I always grow it and yet I had no idea that I could freeze it. You are brilliant...thumbs up

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Blender would be super! Either way - just drizzle in the olive oil as the very last thing and slowly, allowing it to solidify around the oil and you've got it!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

      I just bought a big basil plant and I want to try this. i don't have a food processor, but I think my blender might be able to handle it. What a good idea to freeze it into balls.