Basil Pesto Spread | Life, Love, and Good Food
5 from 1 vote

Basil Pesto Spread

An abundance of fresh basil leaves calls for classic—and versatile—Basil Pesto Spread! Serve it as an appetizer on toasted crostini or as the main meal tossed with angel hair pasta.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Keyword appetizer, Basil, Italian, pesto
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 cup


  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves, removed from stems
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus more for storing)
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest


  • Remove basil leaves from the stems. Shock the leaves in a bowl of ice water and remove immediately to paper towels to dry. (May also use a salad spinner to remove water.)
  • Place pine nuts and garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Add basil leaves and pulse until chopped to desired consistency.
  • Pour olive oil into the food processor chute while on low to combine with the basil mixture. Add more olive oil if you desire. 
  • Remove to a bowl and add salt, lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese. Stir until combined. 
  • Serve immediately on toasted baguette. May store pesto in refrigerator for 2-3 days in a sealed jar. To save for later, cover pesto with a layer of olive oil and refrigerate.



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