There’s nothing quite like the taste of homemade basil pesto sauce. Its freshness and versatility complement many dishes, and it’s simple to make!
This post is all about How To Make the BEST Basil Pesto Sauce.
One of the great things about this delicious basil pesto sauce is its versatility. Whether you love pizza, pasta, or enjoy having a fresh topping for chicken, fish, or salads, it’s guaranteed to enhance a dish’s taste to the NEXT LEVEL.
Basil pesto sauce originated around the mid-nineteenth century in Genoa, the capital city of Liguria, Italy. The Italian word for pesto is pestare, which means to crush or pound. Traditionally, the ingredients were prepared using a mortar and pestle.
So, what is basil pesto sauce exactly? It’s made with fresh basil leaves, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, roasted pecans, and a hard cheese like parmesan. Blend those ingredients in a food processor, and you’ll be enjoying the taste of fresh pesto in minutes.
Now that you have some background on this famous food topper, let’s get into all the details behind how to make the sauce and how to serve this authentic pesto recipe.
How To Make The Best Basil Pesto Sauce
Basil Pesto Ingredients:
- Fresh Basil Leaves
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Black Pepper, cracked.
- A shaved blend of Parmesan, Asiago, and Romano Cheese.
Nuts, Cheese, Garlic, And Olive Oil Tips:
A Pesto Sauce Recipe Without Pine Nuts
Traditionally pesto recipes use pine nuts as their nut of choice. This basil pesto calls for PECANS. Because of their rich and buttery skin, they add a semi-sweet texture to the sauce.
You may have heard of a pesto recipe with walnuts in place of pine nuts. While walnuts are the healthier nut of choice, their slightly bitter taste competes with the basil instead of enhancing its flavors. In conclusion, if you want a creamier and buttery basil pesto sauce, use pecans.
Purchase Happy Belly Pecans on AMAZON.
Award-Winning Belgioioso Cheese For A Creamy Pesto Sauce
While parmesan has always been the go-to hard cheese of choice for pesto, I like to use a shaved blend of PARMESAN, ASIAGO, and ROMANO. Why? Parmesan is a dry and milder cheese compared to romano and asiago. Romano is a bit saltier and sharper, which gives the taste buds an extra punch. Asiago is nuttier and creamier. Combine these three kinds of cheese to achieve a sharper, nuttier, and creamier basil pesto sauce.
I keep a bag of this gourmet shaved cheese in the freezer at all times. It’s also a great topper for salads, pasta, and pizza.
Purchase a Belgioioso Shaved Blend (8-ounce bag) at WALMART.
Purchase a Belgioioso Shaved Blend (larger bag) from AMAZON.
Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil
It’s important to use high-quality olive oil when making pesto sauce. According to New York Magazine, California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the best to use OVERALL.
Purchase California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil on AMAZON.
If you don’t enjoy mincing garlic cloves or the smell it leaves on your hands, purchase a tub of fresh minced garlic from Costco. It’s life-changing! And you can store it in the refrigerator for months. Of course, always check and follow expiration dates.
I usually freeze mine in a ziplock bag, so I don’t have to worry about the garlic expiring. I then break off frozen blocks with a knife as I need them for cooking.
If you’re not a Costco member, you can purchase Kirkland Fresh Minced Garlic on AMAZON.
Equipment Needed For Basil Pesto Sauce:
Ninja Food Chopper Or Food Processor
Making basil pesto sauce is one of the easiest things to do! Just add the ingredients to a food processor (or I use a Ninja Food Chopper) and start blending. According to the experts, here are a couple of the BEST food blenders to own.
A Ninja Food Chopper is perfect for blending basil pesto sauce and Consumer Reports says it’s one of the BEST to own. It’s easy to use, affordable and holds up to 16 ounces of liquids. You can also mince, chop, and grind with this chopper.
Purchase a Ninja Food Chopper on AMAZON.
Best Food Processor
If you’re looking to purchase an actual food processor, Good Housekeeping and Consumer Reports voted the Breville Sous Chef 12-Cup Food Processor as the BEST OVERALL to own.
Purchase a Breville Sous Chef Food Processor on AMAZON.
How To Make The Best Basil Pesto Sauce, Step-By-Step
Step 1: Roast 1/4 cup of chopped pecans in a skillet over medium heat. It will take about five minutes for them to brown.
Step 2: Add the basil leaves, roasted nuts, minced garlic, salt, pepper, cheese, and olive oil to a Ninja Food Chopper or food processor.
Step 3: Grind the ingredients together until they’re completely blended. Refer to the pesto sauce pictured above.
Step 4: Serve Immediately!
FAQs For This Easy Authentic Pesto Recipe
What Is Basil Pesto Sauce Used For?
Because this recipe is so versatile, you can enjoy several meals. It’s a great bread dipper, pasta topper, and can be added to pizza in place of tomato sauce.
What Is Basil Pesto Made Of?
The five main ingredients include fresh basil, garlic, cheese, olive oil, and pecans.
What Does Basil Pesto Go With?
Almost Anything! My Pea Salad Recipe calls for pesto sauce, and it’s the perfect side dish to take anywhere all year round. Basil pesto also creates a ton of flavor when added to mashed potatoes, rice, risotto, and hot vegetables.
What Does Basil Pesto Sauce Taste Like?
It tastes garlicky, herby, rich, and slightly salty from the cheeses. Be sure to use high-quality olive oil.
What Ingredients Are In A Traditional Pesto Sauce?
Pine nuts are an ingredient that’s usually found in a traditional pesto sauce. However, pecans are also popular.
How Can I Make Basil Pesto Sauce For Pasta?
Follow this sauce recipe and add the amount you want on top of your pasta. Some like to top the pesto pasta with chicken or shrimp.
Where Can I Buy Basil Pesto Sauce?
You can buy it at Costco, Walmart, or check online. But I promise this recipe is so easy to make.
Pesto Recipe Without Pine Nuts?
If you’re allergic to pine nuts, no worries because you can use pecans. Some prefer pecans in their pesto sauce because their skins have a buttery flavor that enhances the sauces flavoring.
How Do You Freeze Fresh Basil Pesto?
You can store the pesto in an airtight container. Or you could add spoonfuls of pesto to an ice cube tray and place them in the freezer. Once they’re frozen you can add the small blocks of pesto to a plastic bag.
Final Thoughts On This Famous Food Topper
This sauce is fresh, creamy, delicious, and simple to make! It’s a gourmet recipe that will add bursts of flavor to almost any meal. Follow this recipe’s FRESH ingredients, and you’ll be serving the BEST Basil Pesto Sauce of your life. Happy Eating!
How To Make The Best Basil Pesto Sauce
- Food processor or food chopper.
- 1 cup Fresh Basil leaves, packed.
- 1/4 cup Pecans, chopped and then roasted. See instructions below.
- 3 Garlic cloves, minced, or 2 teaspoons of minced garlic from a jar.
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/8 tsp Black pepper, cracked.
- 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup Shaved blend of Asiago, Parmesan, and Romano cheese.
Basil Pesto Sauce Instructions
- Roast 1/4 cup of chopped pecans in a skillet over medium heat. It will take approximately five minutes for them to brown.
- Next, add basil leaves, roasted nuts, minced garlic, salt, pepper, cheese, and olive oil to a Ninja Food Chopper or food processor.
- Grind ingredients together until they're completely blended. Refer to the pesto sauce picture above.
- Serve immediately.