Homemade Basil Pesto is one of my favorite sauces for summer. It’s a simple but flavor packed sauce that features fresh basil, lemon, nuts, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. All together, it’s a magical sauce great for grilled meat, roasted veggies, pasta, pizza, and so much more.Jump to Recipe
The Best Sauce for Summer
Nothing quite screams the arrival of summer like a batch of homemade basil pesto. It celebrates fresh basil which grows abundant this time of year. When it’s finally readily available in your garden, local grocery, or farmer’s market, you know summer is here! It’s time to make this fragrant and wildly flavorful sauce, fire up the grill, and enjoy an icy cold beverage on the patio.
Ingredients in homemade basil pesto
Here’s what you need to whip up this sauce:
- fresh basil, the star ingredient in this dish. You must use fresh (dried basil will not work). This fragrant and vibrantly green herb together with the other ingredients creates a condiment you will use on repeat all summer long.
- nuts, pine nuts are traditional, which are buttery and tender and add texture and flavorful to the sauce. But pine nuts are also super pricey, so feel free to sub in another flavorful nut like walnuts or almonds.
- garlic, really elevates the sauce by adding that irresistible punch only garlic can provide.
- lemon zest and juice, now this is untraditional but I love the freshness and zing it adds to tame the other rich flavors. Lemon and basil are also besties so it seems only fitting to combine them together in this sauce.
- olive oil, help emulsify and create a rich, creamy sauce.
- parmesan cheese, for a little nutty richness and sharp salty bite.
- salt and pepper, to help all the other flavors shine and create a truly flavorful sauce.
How to make this sauce
It’s so so easy!
In a food processor, add the basil, lemon juice and zest, nuts, garlic cloves, and salt and pepper. Blend until it form a chunky mixture.
Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and blend until it well combined.
Add in the parmesan cheese and pulse until combined. Enjoy!
Why you’ll love this Homemade Basil Pesto
- It’s easy! This sauce comes together in under 10 minutes and uses minimal ingredients.
- Super flavorful. With big, bold flavors like basil, parmesan cheese, lemon and olive oil, it’s no wonder this sauce is insanely good.
- So versatile. You can put it on pizza, pasta, burgers, grilled meat or seafood, roasted veggies and so much more!
- Customizable. This sauce has no limits! Swap out some of the basil for spinach for some more nutrients. No pine nuts?! No problem! Use another nut, like walnuts or almonds. Not a fan of the addition of lemon? Don’t use it! I learned how to make this sauce my own through trial and error and you can too!
Other great recipes for summer
- Watermelon Berry Salad with Honey Lime Dressing
- Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
- Grilled Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Avocado Salsa
You need to use up that fresh, beautiful basil and make this homemade basil pesto this summer!
If you make these homemade basil pesto, please leave a comment below. I absolutely love to hear from you guys and your thoughts on my recipes. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram or pin it on pinterest, cuz sharing is caring!
Homemade Basil Pesto
- 2 cups packed fresh basil
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts or mix of both
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt can decrease or increase to your liking
- Pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
In a food processor, add the basil, lemon juice and zest, nuts, garlic cloves, and salt and pepper. Blend until it form a chunky mixture. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and blend until it well combined. Add in the parmesan cheese and pulse until combined. Enjoy!