easy summer pesto recipe

every summer, no matter the size of my yard/garden/fire escape, i always get at least one potted basil plant. i love adding fresh herbs to summer dinners and basil might be my favourite. this pesto is quick and easy and is a great way to enjoy your basil harvest

this recipe is very forgiving, so feel free to be creative. you can add some heat with chilli flakes or fresh jalapeño. the pesto can be made with or without nuts - i made this on a whim at the cottage and didn't have any nuts around so i skipped them. pine nuts are traditional but you could also use sunflower seeds or walnuts if you have them


  • 3 to 4 cups fresh basil leaves, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

optional ingredients

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, sunflower seeds or walnuts
  • 1/2 tbsp chili flakes
  • 1 to 2 tbsp diced fresh jalapeños


    1. combine all ingredients and half of the olive oil in a food processor
    2. blend until silky and smooth
    3. add remaining olive oil as needed to reach desired consistency
    4. taste and season with salt and pepper
    5. keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week

some suggested uses for fresh pesto

  • toss with pasta and top with parmesan cheese
  • add to your salad dressing
  • spread on toast and top with a poached egg for a delicious (if garlicky) breakfast
  • use as a rub/marinate on meat before cooking
  • coat baby potatoes for the bbq
  • use instead of tomato sauce on homemade pizza
  • mix with mayonnaise and sour cream for a delicious dip

that's it - so easy, so versatile and so summery! let me know how you used your pesto in the comments below!

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