Basil Pesto Sauce (Blender)
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Quick and easy pesto sauce recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in a blender in 10 minutes. Packed with basil, garlic, parmesan cheese and pine nuts.
This is the best sauce ever and better and fresher than anything you would buy at the store. It packs flavor and enhances any meal you may be serving.
Use it as a sauce, dip, or the main ingredient and star of the dish. You just can’t go wrong! Need a few dishes to inspire you? Use it in this Pesto Chicken (One Pot) or this Basil Pesto Pasta Recipe (One Pot).
What is pesto?
It’s a sauce originating in Genoa, Italy. It is known for its bright green color and light texture. Pesto ingredients typically include basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. These ingredients were traditionally combined by grinding with the use of a mortar and “pestle,” hence the name. Nowadays, people generally use a food processor to combine the ingredients.
How to make pesto sauce?
- Blend– In a food processor or heavy-duty blender, add basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, salt, pepper and pulse until finely chopped.
- Add oil– Gradually pour olive oil, while the blender is still running. Then blend until mixture is mostly smooth.
- Scrape down the sides– Do this a few times to mix everything smoothly and enjoy!
What is homemade pesto recipe used for?
Enjoy it as pesto pasta sauce. It is delicious over tortellini, gnocchi, ravioli and especially spaghetti. Try it over Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash instead of regular pasta as a healthier low carb option.
It can also be used as a marinade and compliments many proteins such as chicken, steak, shrimp, or salmon very well.
Try mixing it into other sauces like mayo or cream cheese or even some alfredo to make pesto cream sauce. Then, use it as a spread on sandwiches, wraps, subs, burgers.
Use it as a drizzle over bruschetta or these delicious Caprese Skewers (One Pan). Drizzle it on soups, over pizza or even garlic breads and cheese sticks.
You can even use it as dip for crusty bread.
How to store pesto?
Refrigerate it– It can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to the 3 days.
Freeze it– It can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month, and then thawed overnight in the fridge.
Creamy pesto sauce– Add some heavy cream to make it richer.
Use other nuts– Such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, or pecans.
Use other cheese– Such as Pecorino Romano, Asiago, white cheddar, or Gruyere.
Roast garlic– Slice off the top of the whole head of garlic. Drizzle olive oil over it, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap the head in foil and then roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Squeeze out the roasted garlic and use in this sauce. This add a wonderful deep flavor.
Add sun-dried tomatoes– Add about 1/2 cup of these tomatoes into the food processor along with the other ingredients.
Use other green herbs- Such as arugula, cilantro, spinach, parsley, mint or kale.
Avocado pesto– Add chunks of avocado to make it even creamier and richer.
Make it spicy– Add crushed red chili flakes, jalapenos, or cayenne pepper to add more heat.
Add roasted red peppers– This will add a different flavor profile and a slightly different color.
Add vegetables– Such as artichoke hearts, tomatoes, peas, or eggplant for a unique flavor.
Tips and Techniques
Does this sauce need to be cooked? No, it does not need to be cooked.
Should pine nuts be toasted? This step is optional. Toasting the nuts will add enhance the nutty flavor, but isn’t necessary.
What can be substituted for pine nuts? Almonds, pecans, cashews, pistachios, or walnuts can be substituted.
Why did my pesto turn brown? When fresh basil is chopped and the inside is exposed to air, it will oxidize and turn brown just like an avocado. Adding the olive oil on the top keeps it fresh and prevents it from turning brown because it prevents oxygen from reaching the leaves.
Why is my pesto bitter? The basil can often taste bitter, but can easily be overcome with more cheese, garlic, nuts, or oil.
Do you need to blanch basil leaves? This is optional. Supposedly, it prevents the pesto from turning brown, allowing it to maintain its green color. I don’t blanch the basil, and have never had an issue.
How to make pesto thinner? Add a little more olive oil.
Add oil at the end– This allows you to make sure that you have the perfect amount of oil without having to add more of the other ingredients. It is much easier to add more oil if needed than to try to overcome too much oil.
Rinse the basil– Nothing ruins this sauce like a bit of grit left on the basil leaves. Make sure to rinse in cold water so the leaves don’t wilt. Then, pat them dry completely before using them.
More One Pot Italian Recipes
- Italian Spaghetti Salad
- Italian Tortellini Salad (One Bowl)
- Italian Chopped Salad (One Bowl)
- One Pot Italian Sausage Pasta
- Italian Pot Roast (One Pot)
- Instant Pot Italian Beef
- Bruschetta Chicken (One Pot)
One Pot Basil Pesto Sauce
- In a blender or food processor, add basil, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, salt, pepper until finely chopped.
- Gradually pour olive oil, while the blender is still running.
- Continue blending for a few more seconds until mixture is mostly smooth.
- Be sure to scrape down the sides, a few times to mix everything smoothly. Enjoy!
- Read all my tips above.
- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up 3 days and frozen in a sealed airtight container for up to 1 month. It can be thawed in the fridge overnight.
Happy cooking everyone!