Choose your greens. Choose your nuts. This mix and match homemade pesto recipe is delicious no matter how you make it.
homemade pesto recipe
How’s that for a pinnable image of a homemade pesto recipe? I know this is a sweets blog, but let’s talk about pesto for a bit. Pesto. Glorious pesto. I’ve been making pesto for about twenty years now. If I recall, my first recipe came from the Silver Palate cookbook.
As the years have passed, I’ve thrown in all kinds of stuff, usually without measuring, until I got my general recipe down. But why “mix and match”? Because I never make it exactly the same way twice.
what greens and nuts can be used in pesto?
With this recipe, use what you have in your fridge, garden or cupboard. The recipe is forgiving, so you can add more or less of the ingredients you like. Thanks to the olive oil and Parmesan cheese, it’ll taste freaking fantastic no matter what you do.
Choose your greens and/or herbs (basil, sure if you want to be all traditional, oregano, kale, spinach, arugula) and choose your nuts (pine nuts are the classic, but you can also use walnuts or even almonds and pistachios). Or, use a combo of one or more of each.
I’ve made spinach and basil pesto with pine nuts. Kale pesto with almonds. Oregano and basil pesto with walnuts. Run out of walnuts? Throw in some pistachios.
This pesto shown below is kale walnut pesto.
what else can I make with pesto besides pasta?
How do you serve pasta with pesto?
While the pasta is boiling, scoop out some of the water (1/4 cup to whatever consistency you like) and stir it into the prepared pesto.
Spoon a big dollop of pesto into a bowl. Drain the pasta when it’s ready and immediately transfer it into the bowl on top of the pesto.
Mix it all around well and add more pesto as desired. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.
mix and match homemade pesto recipe
you will need:*
2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 to 3 cups packed greens (kale, spinach, basil, oregano, arugula, mint, parsley, cilantro, etc.)
1/4 cup nuts (pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, etc.)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
juice from 1/2 a lemon (optional)
what to do:
In a food processor, process the garlic. Add the greens and process. Add the nuts and process. While processing, pour in the olive oil. Add additional olive oil OR water from the boiling pasta to desired consistency of pesto. Add in the Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. If desired, stir in lemon juice.
how long does pesto last?
Keep the extra pesto in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. Note the color may brown a bit.
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 to 3 cups packed greens (kale, spinach, basil, oregano, arugula, mint, parsley, cilantro, etc.)
- 1/4 cup nuts (pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, etc.)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- juice from 1/2 a lemon (optional)
- In a food processor, process the garlic. Add the greens and process.
- Add the nuts and process.
- While processing, pour in the olive oil.
- Add in the Parmesan cheese and briefly process.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. If desired, stir in lemon juice.
- Add additional olive oil OR water from the boiling pasta to desired consistency of pesto.
- Serve with hot pasta and sprinkle with red pepper flakes (optional) and additional Parmesan cheese.
(This post was originally published in February 2016 and updated in December 2019.)