Basil Parsley Pesto

July 31st, 2008

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Basil has been a culinary herb in Europe and Central Asia since before the written word. It’s easy to grow here in San Diego as basil thrives in hot sunny weather. The smell of basil gets me very excited as it is yet another reminder of summer. And as my basil plants begin to take over the patio I know its time to make pesto. Since my parsley plant was doing much of the same I decided to toss that in as well. Besides, parsley gives the pesto a much more vibrant color; but be careful, if you add too much it can turn bitter.

Basil Parsley Pesto

Traditionally, pesto is prepared with a mortar and pestle. The basil leaves are thrown in the mortar with garlic and some salt and crushed to a creamy consistency, adding the pine nuts at the end for a light crush. But who’s got time for that when you can simply add it all to your blender or food processor! And if you're like me, I prefer to make a large batch and freeze some for later.

Basil Parsley Pesto Recipe

¼ cup pine nuts
3 garlic cloves
2 cups fresh basil, packed
1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, packed
Extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Toast the pine nuts in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Pine nuts burn easily so don’t walk away, shake periodically and toast until fragrant. This should not take more than a minute or two. Remove from pine nuts and set aside.  Add garlic to skillet and toast (with skin on) for 5 minuets or so, until the skin starts to turn light brown.
  2. Peel garlic, add all ingredients minus the olive oil to the food processor. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, while hitting the pulse button until the pesto reaches desired consistency.  I used about ¾ cup of oil this particular day.

How do I like my pesto? Well, I am glad you asked. Around here, we practically use pesto for everything.  Toss it with some fettuccini, or even pesto pasta salad, top off a bowl of steamed mussels, add crème fraîche to the pesto and you have a nice creamy pesto sauce for gnocchi, melted cheese pesto dip, pesto stuffed hamburgers, topping for pizza...the possibilities are endless.

If you have leftovers, pesto stores very well in the refridgerator for up to 5 days or so.  If you want to freeze it, simply cover the surface of the pesto with a sheet of plastic wrap, then tightly lid the container. This will prevent the pesto from being exposed to air - it should keep for at least 3 months (if you can resist from eating it that is).

Don't forget to share your favorite pesto dish in the comment box below.

Other Vegetarian dishes you may like:
Everyone's favorite Tarragon Salad Dressing
Best Carrot Cake spiced with Ginger & Orange.
Immune boosting Garlic and Spinach Soup.
Tasty Caramelized Onions to go with your wine and cheese.

14 Responses to “Basil Parsley Pesto”

  1. JennNo Gravatar Says:

    I’m growing basil in my garden and adore having access to it all the time, anytime. It rocks.

    I attempted to make pesto last week, but used walnuts instead of pine nuts and couldn’t get the flavor profile right. This is probably because I totally concocted it from the hip with no real planning or thought. Whoops.

    Thank you for the recipe! I very apparently need one. :)

  2. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    @Jenn – Having basil at hand ROCKS! I am totally with you, pesto can be made to taste based on the ingredients at hand. Hence the parsley. All you need is a little TLC and adjust the ingredients to your taste :)

    It seems that most pesto recipes call for Parmesan cheese but Romano would easily work, they do tend to have a stronger flavor so it would probably work well with the parsley. And I think walnuts is a great substitute for pine nuts.

  3. JennNo Gravatar Says:

    Good tip! I added parmesan but it was the cheap kind…I soooo know better. ;)

  4. RobertNo Gravatar Says:

    I wonder with the parsley if you couldn’t invent a chimmichuri/pesto hybrid? Hmmmm…gonna try out BRB.

  5. NateNo Gravatar Says:

    Will this recipe be as good as the pesto we ate when I was down there for the Fourth of July? If so, I am making it this weekend.

  6. jodycakesNo Gravatar Says:

    I love pesto…I like to spread it on a Boboli shell sometimes if I don’t have anything else to eat for din din!!!
    I can’t wait to try this!!!

  7. foodluvinNo Gravatar Says:

    Hey that looks good enough to eat from the bowl without even processing it!

  8. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    @Jenn – I have purchased the cheaper brand Parmesan cheese but at the end, I almost always regret it. I have stopped getting the pre-shredded kind but still trying to figure out which one is the best for my money.

    @Robert – Great running in to you today! We had the best chimichurri and aji pepper sauce on our food over at El Q’ero restaurant. The Saturday’s sea food soup special is a great bargain by the way.

    @Nate – Yes, this is the same recipe for the pesto pasta salad we had. As a matter of fact, this blog post was written that week but was never posted for what ever reason.

    @jodycakes – Pre-baked pizza crusts is a must have! We always have on in our cupboard ready to go! Pesto and frozen shrimp to the rescue!

    @foodluvin – Just lick it off the bowl, watch the sharp blade though!

  9. LaBrownENo Gravatar Says:

    I love Pesto! One of my favorite uses that I learned from my nutritionist is to put a few tablespoons over your favorite fish before broiling. Sprinkle with a little lemon juice when it’s done and yummy! It adds such great flavor to any white fish.

  10. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    @LaBrownE – That sounds wonderful and easy enough to remember and execute. Plus it’s nutritionist approved!

    I saw a video of Matt working the garden. How is that going? Whats growing?

  11. sam bhavnaniNo Gravatar Says:

    is there a good source to get pine nuts for something more affordable than what vons and health food stores sells them for?

  12. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    @sam bhavnani – Trader Joe’s has them for very affordable price.

  13. Alma McdermottNo Gravatar Says:

    These are great tips. I have a question. I bought parsley and basil and it’s more than I can use fast enough (although I’m going to add it to my dish today without pine nuts because I don’t have them and I’m disabled so I have to wait to get the shopping done). My question is: Can you freeze Parsley or Basil?

  14. BasilNo Gravatar Says:


    I freeze basil every summer. It extends my harvest will into the winter. What you want to do is simply coarsely chop the basil, add a bit of olive oil and toss it into a container and freeze it. It’s perfect for sauces and other dishes.

    Alternatively you may consider drying it.

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