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Basil Pesto

  • Author: Tonia Schemmel | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/4 cup 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Food Processor
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


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.


Units Scale
  • 24 medium garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds, (substitute with walnuts or pinenuts or a combination!)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesean cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves, 2 1/2 – 3 ounces


  1. In a food processor, pulse garlic, hemp seeds (or other nuts), and olive oil until garlic is ground up.
  2. Add lemon juice, grated Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and salt.
  3. Add 1/2 of basil, pulse a few times and then throw the remaining basil in.
  4. Process until blended but still a little textured.
  5. Taste, adjust salt to taste.


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, keeping all oxygen out.

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.


  • Serving Size: 1 Tablespoon
  • Calories: 73
  • Sugar: 0.1 g
  • Sodium: 92.4 mg
  • Fat: 7.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.6 g
  • Fiber: 0.2 g
  • Protein: 1.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 1.4 mg

Keywords: Pesto, Basil Pesto, Fresh Basil Pesto, Pesto Sauce,