Fresh Basil Pesto - Mountain Cravings

Fresh Basil Pesto

Fresh Basil Pesto

Anyone else have herbs going absolutely crazy by this point of summer? For me, everything is either thriving or long-gone – I most definitely did not inherit my mother’s magical green thumb. Thankfully the basil is in that first group and it’s shooting up so fast I can’t keep up.

This is the very best basil problem to have, because too much fresh basil means fresh pesto means pure food happiness. Truth.

And we’re gonna change it up a little, because classic pesto with basil + pine nuts can get crazy expensive. Let’s make more pesto for less $$!

02 Fresh Basil Pesto

It’s just a fact that pesto makes literally – yes, literally – everything better. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with pasta coated with pesto and topped with parmesan (pretty sure I’d lose my Italian card if I don’t pay homage to the classic), keeping a jar of freshly-homemade pesto in the fridge opens the door for every dish you’ll make the rest of the summer.

Grilled chicken? Burgers? All the salads? Fried egg over avocado toast? (← YAS.) A generous scoop or slather of pesto brings fresh, herby summer goodness to everything you’re eating.

03 Fresh Basil Pesto

Here’s the secret… we can cut the cost of fresh pesto in half without giving up the flavor. Subbing parsley for some of the basil and walnuts for some (or all!) of the pine nuts is a major money saver. The flavor is a little different, but no less delicious.

At most, replace one-third of the basil with parsley – any more and it drastically takes over the flavor. Walnuts aren’t as big of a flavor difference. You can completely replace the pine nuts with walnuts, or use half-and-half for a more traditional flavor.

Fresh Basil Pesto | Mountain Cravings
Fresh Basil Pesto
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
Basil plant growing wild by the end of summer? Great! Too much fresh basil = fresh pesto = pure food happiness. Truth.
Course: Salads
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 83 kcal
Author: Mountain Cravings
  • 3 cups fresh basil see notes
  • ½ cup pine nuts see notes
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup parmesan grated
  1. Pulse basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor until roughly chopped.
  2. Slowly drizzle olive oil into the mixture, pulsing until smooth.
  3. Add parmesan and puree for 30 seconds.
  4. Store in an airtight container immediately and keep in the fridge.

Substitute up to 1 cup fresh parsley for 1 cup fresh basil; substitute up to 1/2 cup walnuts for 1/2 cup pine nuts.

Air will turn the pesto brown; for best storage, pour a thin layer of olive oil over the surface before sealing. This keeps the bright color but isn't strictly necessary.

Nutrition Facts
approx. 32 (2 cups) servings per container
Serving size 1 tablespoon

Amount per serving
Calories 83
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 1mg 1%
Sodium 58mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Includes g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 1g

Calcium 2mg 1%
Iron 1mg 6%
Not a significant source of vitamin D, or potassium.

The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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