Archive of BBC Food Recipes

How to make pesto

Prep time less than 30 mins
Cook time less than 30 mins
Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian
Pesto is very versatile. You can add it to freshly cooked pasta, spread onto white fish before baking, serve with grilled chicken or spread on bruschetta. This homemade version is also much lower in salt than typical shop-bought pesto.


  1. Heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat. Add the pine nuts and toast them for a few minutes until browned and fragrant.

  2. Place the parmesan chunks in a food processor and add the basil leaves, garlic, toasted pine nuts and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  3. Blend for a few seconds until it begins to come together and is smooth.

  4. Taste the pesto for seasoning, and add a squeeze of lemon juice if you like.

  5. If not using straight away, you can store the pesto in a jar and will keep for a week in the fridge. Or you can put it into ice-cube trays and freeze.


  • 125g/4½oz pine nuts
  • 125g/4½oz parmesan cheese (or a similar vegetarian hard cheese), cut into small chunks
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed with the flat side of a knife
  • 200ml/7fl oz extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • squeeze lemon juice

Shopping List

How to make pesto

Fruit and vegetables

Cooking ingredients

Dairy, eggs and chilled


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