Basil Pesto Recipe

Once you’ve made a pesto, it’s pretty difficult to purchase store-bought. This Basil Pesto recipe takes just minutes to whip together, but you’ll want a mini food processor or blender on hand to keep it quick and simple. With a heaping bunch of fresh basil leaves, olive oil, pumpkin seeds, parmesan cheese and lemon zest, this savory, crave-worthy pesto adds delectable flavor to pasta, meats, roast vegetables – even garlic bread! Try adding a few dollops to this delectable One-Pot Mediterranean Chicken dish or a bowl of Greek Style Roasted Vegetables.

Many pesto recipes and prepared pestos don’t include lemon zest; however, I think it brings such a bright balance to the rich flavors of basil, pumpkin seeds and cheese. (I like to add a few crushed red pepper flakes for spice as well.)

Please give this recipe a try and share your thoughts in the comments. Don’t forget to share your beautiful pics and tag me on Instagram (@coachedbyjan)

Basil Pesto in under 10 minutes

Basil Pesto

Basil, olive oil, seeds, parmesan and lemon zest blend together for a savory, crave-worthy pesto
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course glutenfree, pesto, sauce
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Servings 8 oz
Calories 125 kcal


  • 1 food processor Substitute blender


  • 2 cup basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted (substitute almonds or pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 garlic cloves halved
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese shredded
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp lemon juice optional
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil plus more for texture/smoothness


  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse/process, adding more oil, until desired consistency is achieved.


Calories are based on a serving size of approximately 1 tbsp.
Basil pesto will stay fresh in an airtight container in your refrigerator for a week, or in the freezer for up to three months.
Keyword Basil, Herb, Pesto

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