This pesto recipe is very versatile. It is pictured here with Cavatappi pasta, cherry tomatoes and some fresh mozzarella. We like to make lots of pesto in the summer when fresh basil is readily available and freeze it for use throughout the year. Having pesto on hand in the freezer offers that quick, easy and fresh meal we’re always looking for on a busy weeknight.

Ingredients for Basil Pesto

  • 3 C gently packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 C fresh parsley
  • 1.5 C walnuts
  • 1.5 C grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • about 1/4 t ground white pepper
  • 2 t. course salt
  • 1 C olive oil



Get the kiddos to help clean the basil – ours loves using the salad spinner after soaking the leaves in cold water in the sink! Make sure the basil is well dried off from cleaning  before starting to make the pesto. Excess water can cause the pesto to seize up and separate. If this happens, it is okay, it will still combine when tossed with pasta. It just doesn’t look perfect.


Pulse the basil leaves in the food processor a few times, then add the walnuts, parsley, and parmesan cheese. Blend these until they start to look well-processed.


While leaving the food processor on, gradually add the olive oil (use the drizzle cup that fits on the lid of the food processor if you have one) until it is all blended and has a rough, pastie texture.


Add the garlic and salt and blend to combine


Freeze in .5 C, .75 C and 1 C. amounts and enjoy on pasta (or get creative!) for a convenient, quick meal in the future.

NOTE: Do not heat the pesto before using. Bring to room temperature and toss with hot pasta. Heating will cause the pesto to clump.

(Makes about 2.5 cups)