This fresh Basil Pesto recipe is brimming with bright and savory peppery basil goodness! This version is nut-free, made with nutritious hemp seeds and a splash of lemon. A brilliant condiment that compliments so many dishes. It is easy to make, freezes beautifully, and is perfectly delicious! Vegan adaptable and nut-free!
You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop.~ Rumi
Basil season is coming on strong here in the midst of summer in the Pacific Northwest. I have nurtured a few basil plants from seed and now have plenty of luscious peppery leaves to glean for fresh basil pesto! So gratifying to watch seeds emerge and grow. I find it cultivates hope, something we all can always use more of!
This brilliant combination of ingredients is popular for so many reasons. Not only does it add amazing pizazz to pasta, salmon, chicken, potatoes, grilled veggies (and so much more), it is easy to make and it also freezes beautifully.
Ingredients in Basil Pesto:
- fresh basil
- extra virgin olive oil
- garlic cloves
- Parmesan or pecorino cheese, grating your own makes a much fresher pesto!
- hemp seeds
- lemon juice
- salt and pepper
This pesto recipe is made with hemp seeds! Shelled hemp hearts give a perfect richness to pesto. I tweaked the traditional recipe that uses pine nuts for my nut-free friends and I liked it so much, it has become my go-to pesto recipe.
Plus the nutritional boost of hemp seeds is a bonus. Hemp seeds are high in amino acids as well as a great source of protein, fiber and essential fatty acids. The flavor is mild and buttery. A touch of lemon is added giving a balance to the overall rich and salty flavors.
How to make quick and easy Fresh Basil Pesto:
Pulse in lemon juice, grated Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper.
Add 1/2 of the basil leaves pulsing a few times and then throw the remaining basil in. Adding the basil last keeps the color of the pesto a little brighter.
Process until mixed yet leave some texture or make it smooth for a silky pesto sauce, totally up to you!
That’s it! Pesto is now ready to serve or freeze for a wonderful winter treat!
Can Pesto Be frozen?
Yes! I like to freeze in 2 oz jars. It takes about 10 minutes to thaw in warm water. It is one of those things that makes me so happy to see in the freezer. Ready-made pesto equals spontaneous easy dinner prep! See recipe notes for the “how-to”.
How to Store fresh Pesto
This Pesto Sauce can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. To keep pesto from turning dark, drizzle a little olive oil over the top. Cover completely with plastic or wax paper or parchment so that it is completely touching the pesto to keep all oxygen out.
More recipes you may like:
- Arugula Almond Pesto
- Superfood Walnut Pesto Noodles!
- Summer Pasta Salad w/ Grilled Zucchini, Corn and Cilantro Pesto
- Bucatini Pasta with Arugula Pesto & Heirloom Tomatoes
- Creamy Herby Hemp Dressing
This fresh Basil Pesto recipe is brimming with bright and savory peppery basil goodness! This version is made with nutritious hemp seeds and a splash of lemon. A brilliant condiment that compliments so many dishes. It freezes beautifully, it is easy to make and it is perfectly delicious! Vegan adaptable and nut-free! Makes 1 1/4 cup.
- In a food processor, pulse garlic, hemp seeds (or other nuts), and olive oil until garlic is ground up.
- Add lemon juice, grated Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and salt.
- Add 1/2 of basil, pulse a few times and then throw the remaining basil in.
- Process until blended but still a little textured.
- Taste, adjust salt to taste.
This freezes beautifully. Keep frozen for at least 6 months.
If you prefer a bit more texture in your pesto, add seeds or nuts last and pulse until desired consistency.
Vegan version: double up on the hemp seeds, leaving out the cheese.
Keywords: Pesto, Basil Pesto, Fresh Basil Pesto, Pesto Sauce,