How to Make Homemade Pesto (without pine nuts)

  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this Mess
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Total Time: 10 min
  • Yield: about 1 cup 1x


Homemade pesto is a simple and adaptable recipe that you can use as marinade, in sandwiches, on pasta, or over roasted veggies. It’s full of fresh flavors and wholesome ingredients.



  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 to 3 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil, such as avocado or vegetable oil
  • Additional oil, if needed
  • Additional salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Remove any large stems (small stems are okay) from the basil, and add it to the bowl of your food processor or blender.
  2. Add the garlic, pecans, parmesan cheese if using, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup of olive oil.
  3. Blend until the mixture starts to come together, scraping down the sides often.
  4. Add additional oil a little at a time until the mixture comes together, scraping down the sides often, until it becomes well-mixed but not too oily. You are after a paste or sauce texture that is a little on the thick side.
  5. Give it a taste, and add additional salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days or in the freezer for much longer.
  7. Serve over hot pasta, toss grilled or roasted veggies with it, make a pesto sandwich with it, and it’s also great on chicken and fish.


  • You have SO much flexibility with this recipe. Love cheese? Add 1/3 cup or more. Not doing dairy? You can totally skip the cheese. Add more or less garlic or salt to your liking.
  • You sure can use traditional pine nuts, but I never have them and they are expensive. I love this recipe with pecans. I have also used pistachios (so good!), almonds, and walnuts with success.
  • I like a light oil mixed with the olive oil so that the olive oil flavor isn’t too strong. If you love olive oil, feel free to use just olive oil.
  • Feel free to scale this recipe up or down as needed. I make loads of this during peak basil season and just keep it in the freezer. It’s a little pop of summer when the snow flies.
  • Category: condiment
  • Method: blender
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: pesto, easy, homemade, condiment, side, healthy, basil