Simple Fresh Basil Pesto

This fresh basil pesto is simple to make with fresh pesto and features the warm flavor of walnuts. You'll love using fresh basil from your garden to make this bright pesto. And, of course, serve it up on fresh pasta!

Note: we have fantastic recipes for Fresh Spinach Pesto or Collard Greens Pesto if you are looking for a pesto that doesn't feature basil.

A bright green pesto that uses fresh basil and walnuts in the ingredients.

If you've been following our Facebook Page for any period of time the last month, you've seen me updating you on the transformation we've been giving our itty bitty back yard.

It's itty bitty. BUT...I've managed to pack a pretty decent kitchen garden into the back yard.

My kitchen garden is complete with herbs, green beans, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, and lavender (I LOVE fresh lavender for breads and cocktails) that I intend to freeze for all year long use.

P.S. My LONG list of tips and tricks for Freezing Fruits and Veggies is part of our FREE Kitchen Library...grab that HERE.

A quick peek of some of the backyard, if you are interested...

Anyways, to the point...

Pesto is SUCH a great way to use up fresh herbs and can be adjusted and changed to match just about any fresh green and herb you have on hand. It's just brilliant!'s easy to store!

P.S. I have some good tips and tricks in the Spinach Pesto post/recipe. check that!

Fresh basil in the food processor with parmesan cheese and oil getting ready to go in to make a pesto.

This recipe uses fresh basil, parmesan cheese, and olive oil as the base ingredients. From there, we play. of the reasons my Spinach Pesto is so popular is that making fresh basil pesto uses ALOT of basil. Rarely do I have this much on hand because I've used it for other recipes.

A couple things to do if you find you don't have enough fresh basil:

1. Sub out for a different green like spinach, arugula, or collard greens.
2. Make a smaller batch of pesto using only the basil you have. (this recipe is so quick and easy this is often the option I choose!)

Walnuts in a bowl ready to be used.

Almost all pesto uses nuts, of some kind. They provide additional oil and flavor without actually using more oil. The nutty flavor is a great contrast to the brightness of the fresh herbs and greens.

I love walnuts for this recipe, but feel free to sub out and try another nut. Walnuts have a great depth of flavor, add a nice silky texture, and are a fun and subtle change to the traditional pesto version. I like to change it up ;).

Pine Nuts are the most common for pesto. They are fairly mild, have a great texture, and are budget friendly.

Beautiful pesto with a great texture and a bright green color. Fresh basil and walnut are paired up in this yummy recipe.

A few dances around the food processor and you'll have a beautiful pesto. It really only takes minutes to get this great texture!

A bowl full of fresh basil pesto.

Use pesto on chicken, pasta, toast, pizza or to top soup. It is crazy versatile, easy to store, and can be adapted to whatever your family tastes preferences are.

Sooooo good, guys!

a spatula of fresh basil pesto

Simple Fresh Basil Pesto

| 24 servings
Prep Time | 10 mins
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
A simple pesto using fresh basil and featuring walnuts (Pine Nuts can be used, if preferred). Make a batch in mere minutes!
Cost: $5


food processor


  • 2 ½ to 3 cups fresh sweet basil leaves packed
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper if desired
Check out our Kitchen Reference Guide for help with unfamiliar terms.


  • Toast walnuts by placing on a microwave safe plate. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave again for another 30 seconds or until walnuts smell fragrant. Do not overcook. Allow walnuts to cool slightly..
  • Place basil, 1 tablespoon olive oil, walnuts, and parmesan cheese in a food processor.
  • Turn food processor on and drizzle with additional olive oil as the mixture processes until the desired consistency is reached.


Cook’s notes: For a more traditional pesto sauce, pine nuts can be substituted for walnuts.


Serving: 2tablespoonsCalories: 38kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 32mgPotassium: 15mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 150IUVitamin C: 0.7mgCalcium: 29mgIron: 0.1mg

Must-have kitchen items for this recipe (click the photo to grab the ones I personally use):

Basic Food Processor
Basic Kitchen Knives

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