Ah, pesto! What better way to add a burst of flavour to your food? It’s the perfect accompaniment to pasta, the right zest of flavour for a salad and the ultimate dip for dough-based dishes. But how do you make it? Follow the steps below for making homemade pesto and add instant zing to your daily dishes. With our handy step by step guide, making pesto couldn’t be easier.

pesto ingredients

Homemade Pesto Ingredients

  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Pine nuts (or sunflower seeds as an alternative)
  • Garlic cloves
  • Salt
  • Parmesan cheese

Optional extras:

  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Vegan cheese (alternative to Parmesan)

Making Homemade Pesto

pesto ingredientsStep 1.

On a low heat, use a small frying pan to cook your pine nuts until they are golden, shaking occasionally to cook evenly on each side.

pine nuts

Step 2.

Crush or ground your golden pine nuts along with your basil, olive oil, parmesan and garlic cloves (and salt and pepper) using a pestle and mortar. Although you can also use a food processor – this may not retain the flavour of the basil as well due to its delicate nature, as the steel blades are predominantly used for chopping and mincing, where pesto should be crushed or mashed.

processor with pesto

Step 3.

Process your pesto ingredients until they appear smooth. Remove and use as required for your desired pesto recipe.

How To Serve Pesto

Whether you’ve made sun dried tomato pesto or classic pesto, the opportunities for using this Italian classic in one of your favourite dishes are countless. From savoury starters to tasty main courses, making homemade pesto is a simple way to get that extra kick of flavour in your mid-week dishes. See some suggestions below for how to serve pesto, from simple pasta recipes to fresh summer salads.

Tomato & Pesto Bruschetta

tomato and pesto bruschetta

The perfect refreshing starter! Tomato and pesto bruschetta combines the peppery flavour of pesto and comforting dough with this classic tasty Italian dish. For your main ingredients, use balsamic vinegar, a spoonful of your homemade pesto, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a handful of cherry tomatoes, either sliced or quartered, to assemble your bruschetta. Spread ingredients evenly over the bread and bake in a preheated oven for 10-15 minutes and voilà! Your refreshing pesto starter is ready to taste.

Recipe For Pesto Pasta

pesto pasta

Make to take to work as a lunchtime snack, or have for your dinner when you get home – pesto pasta is one of the most popular homemade dishes to have using pesto. This dish is as easy as it is tasty. Simply cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling water to start. At the same time, use a frying pan to heat up your homemade pesto, salt, pepper and onion if required. Once both pans are ready, combine together in a large bowl or casserole dish and mix your pesto into the pasta, adding grated cheese to taste. Choose to pair up your pasta with broccoli, which acts as a great compliment to the garlic, nutty flavours of the pesto pasta, or with chicken.

Chicken Pesto Salad

chicken pesto salad

Chicken pesto salad gives your easy-to-make pesto a slightly different zest of flavour. For your light bite, throw your favourite salad components together (why not try adding sugar snap peas, for some extra crunch?) Put them in a bowl to make a succulent salad, and in the meantime combine pesto, mayonnaise and onion into a bowl. Add your pre-cooked chicken and coat in your homemade pesto, and then combine your two bowls together, tossing or using a salad spoon to coat every ingredient in the pesto goodness.

However you decide to serve your homemade pesto, pick up everything you need for making pesto from your local convenience store.