This homemade pesto sauce recipe is made in 5 minutes with only 5 ingredients, including fresh basil and toasted pine nuts! It's easy to make in the blender or food processor and can be served in so many different ways!
Heat ¼ cup pine nuts in a small sauté pan over medium heat, stir once you notice them starting to brown. Once they start to brown the process happens fast so watch carefully and remove from heat once all nuts are roasted (about 5 minutes), and let them cool.
Make the Pesto:
Put olive oil and basil leaves into the container of a Vitamix (or another high-powered blender or food processor). Blend for about 60 seconds until the ingredients are combined but not totally smooth. You may need to pause, scrape down the sides, and then continue blending.
Add the rest of the ingredients (pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper and blend until your reach your desired consistency (about 30-60 seconds). You may need to pause, scrape down the sides of the container, and then continue blending.
Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired, pulse to combine.
Fresh basil. I don't recommend making any substitutions for fresh basil, as it will dramatically affect the final taste. However, in a pinch (when I don't have enough basil), I sometimes substitute up to half of the basil with fresh spinach, but never all of it.
Olive oil. I recommend using the best olive oil you have available to you, because it will impart a rich flavor to this pesto sauce. You can also use flavor-infused olive oils (like garlic, herb, etc.)
Pine nuts. If basil is the star of this recipe, toasted pine nuts are the co-star. They are key to making a classic pesto recipe, and shouldn't be substituted if you're going for a 100% authentic flavor. If you must, you can try using other nuts like walnuts, pecans or almonds.
Minced garlic. Fresh roasted garlic is also amazing in this pesto recipe! If you have picky eaters you can also try using a small amount of garlic powder.
Parmesan cheese. I recommend using freshly grated parmesan for the best flavor.