This easy Homemade Pesto recipe without pine nuts is packed with flavor and way more budget friendly! Ready in less than 5 minutes and just 4 ingredients, use your homemade nut-free pesto on pizza, chicken, and pasta.
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I don’t know about you, but I hate it when I have to run to the grocery store for one ingredients. Like, for pesto. I’ve got basil growing in a window herb garden and garlic and Parmesan cheese in the fridge pretty much all the time. But no pine nuts, or any nuts for that matter.
So, I made pesto with just basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil. And you know what? I don’t think it even needs pine nuts. Basil and salty cheese are the star of the show anyway! So, have no fear. Whether you are nut-free, don’t have the budget for pine nuts or walnuts, or just don’t feel like going to the store, you can make delicious homemade pesto without nuts!
Ingredients for Homemade Nut Free Pesto
Basil: Home-grow or store-bought, you’ll need fresh basil.
Parmesan Cheese: You can use pre-grated or shredded or grate yourself. You’ll need 1/3 cup. Feel free to use Parmigiano-Reggiano or Asiago if that is what you have. Any hard, aged cheese will work.
Garlic: You’ll need about 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, or 1-2 cloves of garlic.
Olive Oil: Regular olive oil is perfect, no need for extra virgin olive oil.
Salt and Pepper: This is just for your personal taste. Once you’ve blended up your pesto give it a taste. If you want a little more punch, add a bit of salt and pepper. Salt isn’t just to make things more salty. It is actually a flavor enhancer, so it will make the basil, garlic and cheese really pop.
How to Make Homemade Pesto without Pine Nuts
- Start with washed and dryed fresh basil. Remove all of the leaves from the stems.
- Place your basil, Parmesan cheese, and garlic into the bowl of a food processor.
- Blend the basil mixture until well-chopped, about 15-20 pulses or 10 seconds.
- Scrape down the sides and add the olive oil.
- Blend for 10-15 more seconds until the pesto is almost smooth.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Serve immediately or cover and store in the fridge until ready to use.
How to Store and Freeze Your Homemade Pesto
Homemade pesto doesn’t have preservatives so your basil will brown very quickly. This happens because the basil is chopped and exposes the leaves to the air.
When making your homemade pesto without nuts, it is best to serve immediately or refrigerate as quickly as possible. You’ve got a couple of options when it comes to storing in the fridge.
First, simply store your homemade pesto in an airtight container in the fridge. This will keep for up to 5 days. To prolong the life of your pesto, you can cover the top of the pesto with a layer of olive oil. This prevents air from getting to the chopped basil and keeps it from browning and makes it last longer in the fridge.
For freezing, I love to pour the homemade pesto into ice cube trays and freeze until solid. Once the cubes are frozen, you can slide them right out and store them in a freezer bag in your freezer. This is a fantastic way to preserve pesto because freezing does not affect the texture of the pesto.
When you’re ready to use your pesto, you can pull out a few cubes at a time, as needed.
- Swap the fresh basil for kale, arugula, carrot tops, parsley, or spinach. Really any leafy green or herb can work
- Replace the Parmesan cheese with your favorite aged, hard, salty cheese – Asiago, Reggiano
- If you’re not nut-free, you can add 1/4 cup of pine nuts, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, pecans, even peanuts
- Spice up your pesto with chili oil or even chili crisp
More Homemade Pantry Recipes
- 5 Minute Homemade Cashew Butter
- Homemade Cornbread Mix
- Instant Pot Hummus (without Tahini)
- Homemade BBQ Sauce
- Easy Homemade Mayonnaise
- Homemade Salsa (made using canned tomatoes)
Homemade Pesto Recipe without Nuts
- 2 1/2 cups fresh basil
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Remove stems from basil leaves and place leaves in a food processor.
- Add Parmesan cheese and garlic and blend until basil is chopped well.
- Add olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Blend again until you have a smooth texture, about 10-15 seconds. You may need to scrape down the sides of your bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.
- Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
Homemade pesto will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. To prolong the life of your pesto in the fridge, cover with a layer of olive oil. This will keep air from getting to the pesto and make it last longer.
How to Freeze Pesto: I like to freeze pesto in ice cube trays. Once frozen, you can pop out the cubes and store them in a freezer bag for up to 6 months. When you're ready to use, you can take out a couple of cubes at a time and allow them to thaw at room temperature. Freezing is a wonderful way to preserve homemade pesto because it does not affect the texture of the pesto once it is thawed. This is a great way to preserve your home-grown basil.
Variations: While basil pesto is most traditional, you can make pesto with any leafy green or herb. Try arugula, Thai basil, mint, kale, carrot tops, spinach, tarragon, parsley, or sage.
Feel free to add 1/4 cup of pine nuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans or pistacios to your pesto if you wish, or as your budget allows. As for cheese, any hard, salty, aged cheese will work great, so feel free to get creative.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 38Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 47mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g