Foolproof Basil Pesto Recipe and 15 Ways to Use it!

Leggi questo post in: Italiano

Make delicious homemade basil pesto with this foolproof recipe and then find 15 mouthwatering ways to use it for your family’s meals! Sooo good!

I live in southern Italy, aka the capital of Basil-land. Nearly every home has at least one basil plant and those plants can easily grow into thick masses of fragrant green leaves. I am no exception to the rule. Every year I have two or three pots with forests of basil and over the years I have come up with my own foolproof basil pesto recipe!

Basil is one of the most beloved herbs and is even better when fresh picked. Learn how to grow basil year after year for FREE with the help of an easy trick!

If you follow my tips on how to grow a flourishing basil plant, you too will soon have lots of this herb to use in all sorts of ways. And sooner or later, you will want to make pesto, one of the most delicious sauces ever created. It’s one of the few healthy green things that kids almost unanimously like to eat.

So I’ve decided not only to share my pesto recipe, but also to share 15 absolutely delicious ways you can use it for meals that the entire family will love!

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Ready to get picking, mixing and cooking? Let’s start!

Foolproof Basil Pesto Recipe:

Make delicious homemade basil pesto with this foolproof recipe and then find 15 mouthwatering ways to use it for your family’s meals! Sooo good!

First of all, pick tons of nice-looking basil leaves from your plant. Remember, as I said in my post on growing beautiful basil plants year after year without spending, to pop off the top of each stem. Don’t peel single leaves off the stems, otherwise the plant won’t continue to grow and fill out.

Rinse off the leaves in cold water, dry them in a salad spinner and lay them out on a dish towel so that they can finish air drying.

Make delicious homemade basil pesto with this foolproof recipe and then find 15 mouthwatering ways to use it for your family’s meals! Sooo good!

Ingredients:

  • 85 g. (3 oz.) clean fresh basil leaves
  • 10 g. pine nuts (1/3 oz.), minced (about 1/3 of a shot glass)
  • 15 g. (1/2 oz.) pecorino romano cheese, grated (about 2/3 of a shot glass) – if you can’t get pecorino, use real grated parmesan, although the flavor will be slightly less lackluster
  • 90 gr. (3 oz.) extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp. salt (add a touch more if using parmesan instead of pecorino)

Mix all the ingredients in a blender or with an immersion blender until well mixed and there are no chunks of ingredients left. It’s ok if there are little bits of pine nuts or garlic. Add extra salt, garlic, pine nuts and cheese to taste if desired. The flavor of these ingredients can really vary, so you might need to add a little more or less of any given one.

I use an immersion blender to make pesto. What I do is weigh the tall container that comes with the blender, then add basil until it gets to 85 grams more than the weight of the container. I note the new weight, then continue adding ingredients this way. Then I blend it and taste test it. So easy!

One thing to note is that contact with the air will make your pesto turn dark. I don’t believe that it changes the taste of it, but it does look slightly less pretty that way!

How to store homemade pesto

Make delicious homemade basil pesto with this foolproof recipe and then find 15 mouthwatering ways to use it for your family’s meals! Sooo good!

The easiest way it to just put it in a jar. Make sure that there is enough oil to cover the top of the pesto so that it won’t dry out. It can stay in the fridge for a for days at least like this.

Make delicious homemade basil pesto with this foolproof recipe and then find 15 mouthwatering ways to use it for your family’s meals! Sooo good!

If you’ve made a lot of pesto, I highly recommend you freeze it. I have an ice cube tray that I use only for freezing pesto. Fill up the spaces with pesto, cover it, then put it in the freezer. Once it’s frozen, transfer the pesto cubes to a freezer bag or other freezer-safe container.

Take however many pesto cubes you need out of the freezer at least a few hours before you want to use them, that way they can defrost. I don’t have a microwave, so I have no idea if thawing them out that way changes the flavor.

15 DELICIOUS ways to use pesto in your cooking!

Ok, so now you have lots of pesto, let’s use it! I’m going to start with really easy ways that I use pesto all the time.

1. Pasta con pesto

Make delicious homemade basil pesto with this foolproof recipe and then find 15 mouthwatering ways to use it for your family’s meals! Sooo good!

This is the classic way to use pesto. It’s great with pretty much any type of pasta. Here I’ve used trofie. Just cook your pasta, drain it, and mix the pesto in. This is the classic healthy last minute meal in Italian families!

2. Vegetables with pesto

Make delicious homemade basil pesto with this foolproof recipe and then find 15 mouthwatering ways to use it for your family’s meals! Sooo good!

Pesto has a wonderful flavor that goes with nearly everything. Mix it with a tomato salad. Drizzle it on top of grilled asparagus. Or add it to cubed steamed potatoes and sprinkle pieces of salt-preserved lemon on top, as I did here. The possibilities are endless!

3. Grilled cheese and pesto

Who doesn’t love grilled cheese? Give it a little extra zing by spreading a layer of pesto inside! Yum!

4. Pesto tofu spread

Make delicious homemade basil pesto with this foolproof recipe and then find 15 mouthwatering ways to use it for your family’s meals! Sooo good!

This creamy spread is fantastic on toasted bread (bruschette, for you more fancy types!), but you can also put some in your plate to accompany the rest of your meal. But I rarely can resist just sneaking spoonfuls of it every so often! It’s a great healthy snack. Simply cut up a piece of tofu and mix it in a blender with some pesto, adding a bit of oil and/or salt if necessary. I don’t have a specific tofu-pesto ratio, but just taste test it as I go.

5. Tomato soup with pesto

I have been making this recipe of tomato soup for years, and people are always requesting it when they come over to eat. Everyone loves it. One of the secrets to the amazing flavor of this special recipe is a bit of pesto. I don’t even bother defrosting my pesto cubes, but just drop them directly in the pot of soup and stir until they’ve melted.

6. Chilled pesto rice

Make delicious homemade basil pesto with this foolproof recipe and then find 15 mouthwatering ways to use it for your family’s meals! Sooo good!

This is pretty similar to pasta with pesto, but I think it tastes great in the summer when slightly chilled. Just cook the rice and mix the pesto in while still hot. Let it sit a little bit to cool down and put it in the refrigerator if you wish.

Those are really simple ways that I use pesto normally, because I quite honestly rarely get too elaborate in the kitchen. But there is really no end to the absolutely delicious ways you can use pesto in your cooking. So here are some other mouthwatering ways to cook with pesto!

 

Vegetarian and Vegan recipes

15 mouthwatering ways to use homemade basil pesto in your cooking: Pesto Spinach Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes

(click for image source)

7. Pesto Spinach Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes

Find the recipe by Stacey Homemaker herePin It here

15 mouthwatering ways to use homemade basil pesto in your cooking: Chickpea Pesto Salad by Mother Thyme

(click for image source)

8. Chickpea Pesto Salad

Find the recipe by Mother Thyme herePin It here

15 mouthwatering ways to use homemade basil pesto in your cooking: Vegan Pesto Pizza with Balsamic Glaze by This Savory Vegan

(click for image source)

9. Vegan Pesto Pizza with Balsamic Glaze

Find the recipe by This Savory Vegan here Pin It here

15 mouthwatering ways to use homemade basil pesto in your cooking: Pesto and Cheese Twists by Scrummy Lane

(click for image source)

10. Pesto and Cheese Twists

Find the recipe by Scrummy Lane herePin It here

 

Recipes with meat

15 mouthwatering ways to use homemade basil pesto in your cooking: Chicken Pesto Kabobs by Damn Delicious

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11. Chicken Pesto Kabobs

Find the recipe by Damn Delicious herePin It here

15 mouthwatering ways to use homemade basil pesto in your cooking: Grilled Pesto Turkey Burgers by The Lemon Bowl

(click for image source)

12. Grilled Pesto Turkey Burgers

Find the recipe by The Lemon Bowl herePin It here

15 mouthwatering ways to use homemade basil pesto in your cooking: Sausage Pesto Lasagna Rolls by The Salty Marshmallow

(click for image source)

13. Sausage Pesto Lasagna Rollups

Find the recipe by The Salty Marshmallow herePin It here

 

Recipes with seafood

15 mouthwatering ways to use homemade basil pesto in your cooking: Pesto Salmon and Italian Veggies in Foil by Cooking Classy

(click for image source)

14. Pesto Salmon and Italian Veggies in Foil

Find the recipe by Cooking Classy herePin It here

15 mouthwatering ways to use homemade basil pesto in your cooking: Pesto Shrimp Mushroom Pasta by Julia’s Album

(click for image source)

15. Pesto Shrimp Mushroom Pasta

Find the recipe by Julia’s Album herePin It here

 

Make delicious homemade basil pesto with this foolproof recipe and then find 15 mouthwatering ways to use it for your family’s meals! Sooo good!

So now that you know how to grow a gorgeous full basil plant, you have this foolproof basil pesto recipe and you know how to use your pesto, you have no excuses for not making a batch of pesto! Bon appétit!

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What are your favorite ways to use basil pesto? Share them in the comments below! And rememeber to Pin this post here!

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Or make your own healthy breadcrumbs from your leftover stale bread! You’ll never go back to using storebought breadcrumbs!

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8 Responses

  1. Yum! I’m trying to grow basil at my window at work. If it works out, maybe I can try some of these ideas! 🙂

  2. Un trucco per conservare il pesto più a lungo è non mettere il formaggio. Io lo aggiungo quando condisco la pasta. Grazie per le ricette, voglio provare la pasta con funghi, gamberi e pesto!

  3. federica says:

    ciao! ti scrivo da Genova, la patria del pesto! sei molto brava, ma oltre al formaggio pecorino, che da noi non è mai romano ma sardo, più delicato anche se sempre saporito, nel pesto ci va una generosa dose di parmigiano! infatti, il tuo pesto è molto scuro, mentre l’originale è verde chiaro.
    se hai voglia prova e poi mi saprai dire, ovvio che comunque ciascuno cucina come preferisce
    grazie a presto
    Federica

    • Grazie Federica! Mi fa molto piacere avere delle dritte da una genovese che saprà sicuramente meglio di me come fare! Avevo sentito del pecorino sardo, ma non lo faccio mai. Ci devo provare. In realtà, il pesto che si vede nella ciottola e nel barattolo sono con solo parmigiano perché avevo finito il romano! Comunque la prossima volta, ci provo con il sardo e anche il parmigiano. Grazie ancora! 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. […] on a balcony or windowsill. It gets thrown on top of plates of steaming spaghetti, made into pesto (check out my foolproof recipe and 15 ways and recipes to use basil pesto!), or placed prettily […]

  2. […] knows and loves eating fragrant basil pesto in the summer (and you can find my foolproof recipe for it here), but today I want to show you a variation on this classic recipe that my entire family LOVES […]

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