This easy Homemade Pesto is also nut free! It only takes 5 minutes and tastes amazing. Freshly made pesto is like summer in a jar!
Does anything taste like summer more than fresh, homemade pesto? I can’t think of anything that does. Basil is the quintessential summer herb, and just one whiff makes me think of hot, sunny days, cold drinks and effortless summer dinners. Of course, even store bought pesto is usually pretty good – but nothing tastes better than homemade pesto!
I have been making this recipe for pesto since I was in college. I decided not to put nuts in it because at the time I didn’t like nuts (weird, I know), and I was also a poor college student and nuts are expensive! Traditionally pesto has pine nuts, or sometimes walnuts. I actually prefer my version without the nuts. The bonus is that it makes this pesto lower in fat, cheaper to make and safe for people with nut allergies!
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This easy homemade pesto is super simple to make, but it does require a food processor. THIS one is similar to the one I use, and it is one of my most used kitchen tools. If you have a high powered blender, that may work for this recipe, but I have tried to make pesto in a regular blender and it did not work. In addition to blending all the ingredients into a paste, using a food processor allows you to emulsify the oil by slowly streaming it into the mixture while the food processor is running. This is key for great pesto!
The lemon juice in this gives it just a little something extra and also allows the pesto to maintain its bright green color – without the lemon juice the basil sometimes starts to turn brownish. Use this easy homemade pesto on pasta or zoodles for a quick weeknight dinner – it is also great as a pizza topping, salad dressing or scrambled into your eggs in the morning.
What is your #1 summer food?
Nut-Free Homemade Pesto
- 3 cups packed fresh basil
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup 2 ounces fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- 1-2 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- pepper to taste
- Add everything except the olive oil to a food processor.
- While the processor is running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube in a steady stream. Process until smooth.
- If needed, scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula and pulse a few times until everything is incorporated.
- Store in the refrigerator.
How long will this stay good in the fridge? And what about freezing it?
Hi Courtney – it should stay fresh in the fridge for 5-7 days and you can freeze it for up to 3 months.
Tastes really good, but it’s super liquidy. I think half the amount of oil would probably get closer to the texture I prefer. Or maybe my packed cups of basil weren’t packed tight enough.
Hi Lindsay – Yes, that does happen if there isn’t enough basil. But I bet you could also reduce the oil a bit if you would like! I’m glad it tasted good 🙂