How to Make Pesto? 10 ways!

how to make pesto
how to make pesto

Pesto can be made with many different ingredients. Originally with basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese with a little lemon juice. Of course also a little salt and pepper. But there are many variations on this. Mainly due to allergies or just for the fun and tasty! But how to make pesto?

To make Pesto, place basil leaves, toasted pine nuts, (vegan) Parmesan cheese, oil, and lemon juice in a food processor and grind for 1 minute. Check whether it is smooth; otherwise, add a little more oil.

Pesto can be made with different ingredients. You can make green pesto and pesto Rosso, but also a pesto without cheese or nuts. Even arugula competes more for a place in the ingredient list.

Pesto Ingredients

  • Basil
  • Olive oil extra virgin
  • pine nuts
  • Lemon juice
  • Cheese (vegan)
  • tomatoes
  • Pepper
  • salt
  • Almonds
  • walnuts
  • Cashew nuts
  • arugula
Pesto Ingredients

Pesto Ingredients

Of course, you don’t use all of these ingredients at once. Read more in the blog which ingredients go together to make a beautiful Pesto.

Pesto Making Blender 

We think a small food processor is the most convenient because you often don’t make such large quantities. The food processor blade will rotate at a certain point and will no longer touch the mass when you use a large food processor. If you make a lot of pesto to freeze, it could be a possibility.

Making Pesto Stick Blender

Making pesto in an immersion blender is also an option because the mixing bowl is quite narrow. All ingredients are ground so well. Maybe you should check if everything is included with grinding. Just remove the plug from the socket when you remove the pesto from the blade of the hand blender so that you can still take the unground ingredients with you when mixing.

Making pesto in a mortar 

When you make pesto in a mortar, a large mortar is useful. You should be able to get rid of all the basil leaves with oil and any nuts. That is quite a lot.

Making pesto in a mortar

Making pesto in a mortar

But a mortar could be. It is a bit of work to jack everything up by hand, but also a fun one, I think!

Making Green Pesto 

What do you need to make pesto for 4 people (through the pasta for example)

  • 1 basil plant (50 grams leaves)
  • 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 30 grams Parmesan cheese (vegan)
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
Making Green Pesto

Making Green Pesto

To make pesto, the basil leaves must be well washed and dried. Let it drain on kitchen paper.

Preparation method:

  1. Toast the pine nuts lightly brown over low heat. Stick with it, they burn quickly. Set the pips aside. Getting married, in our blog about roasting pine nuts, you will find all the information for roasting.
  2. Place the basil leaves in the food processor and add the oil, cheese, garlic, and toasted pine nuts.
  3. Let it grind well for 1 minute. Check-in between whether everything has been included with mixing. If this is not the case, stir with a spoon so that everything can be well incorporated.
  4. Taste what you think of your creation and add some salt and pepper if necessary. If you find the pesto too dry, you can add a little more oil and mix again.

Pesto Rosso

Pesto Rosso says it all. This Pesto is red. Red from the sun-dried tomatoes. You make it like the green pesto but the sun-dried tomatoes go with it.

Pesto Rosso

Pesto Rosso


  • 1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 50 grams (vegan) hard cheese from Violife
  • Pine nuts 5 tablespoons
  • 2 full handfuls of basil leaves
  • 1 big garlic clove
  • Pepper
  • salt
  • Olive oil or oil from the tomato jar.

How to prepare the pesto:

  1. Add the sun-dried tomatoes to the blender and mix well.
  2. Add the basil leaves with the oil from the jar.
  3. Clean the clove of garlic and add it to the other ingredients as well.
  4. Mix well with the blender and add the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Puree everything well and taste what you think of your creation.
  6. Add salt and pepper if you like.

Delicious in pasta or on Turkish bread. There are many possibilities for what you can do with Pasta Rosso.

Make Pesto Arugula

If you don’t like pesto with basil or for whatever reason, you can also use arugula. Might be worth a try too.

Make Pesto Arugula

Make Pesto Arugula

What you need for Pesto with arugula:

  • 1 big garlic clove
  • 70 grams of pine nuts
  • 50 grams Parmesan (vegan) cheese
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Arugula 150 grams
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice if desired
  • pinch of pepper
  • pinch of salt

How to make this pesto:

  1. Wash all arugula leaves clean.
  2. Put all the arugula leaves in a blender and mix it well
  3. Add all other ingredients to the arugula and mix well
  4. Check that the pesto is not too dry, otherwise add a dash of oil and mix well.
  5. Taste what you think of the pesto and add salt and pepper if you wish.

Pesto without Cheese

Pesto without cheese is actually very tasty. If you don’t want or can’t use dairy, but who do like Pesto, this may be an option:

  • 25 grams basil
  • 4 tbsp pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 50 ml extra virgin olive oil

When you use pine nuts, it is very nice to toast them first.

  1. Place the pine nuts in a frying pan and turn the heat to medium-high. Move the kernels constantly so that they do not burn. If the pips discolor too quickly, turn the heat source down.
  2. Place the basil in a small food processor or mortar. Grind it briefly and add the nuts and oil. Mash until the nuts are small and add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Mix everything into a paste of your desired thickness. If you find it too thick, add some oil.
  4. Taste what you think of the pesto and add salt and pepper to your liking.

Enjoy your meal!

Making Pesto without Nuts

Making pesto without nuts is a tricky one. No ‘nuts’ in the pesto at all is impossible. You can, however, replace ‘nuts’ with seeds such as the pine nut. It could also be that these are the culprits and almonds can be the replacement. Basically you can grab any ‘nut’ that you are not allergic to or that you do like. We have also written a blog about seeds and nuts; ” What is the difference between nuts and seeds? ‘ tells you everything!

Pesto Dressing

A pesto dressing can be delicious over a salad!

Pesto Dressing

Pesto Dressing

Make a pesto from:

  • 25 grams basil or more if you want
  • 75 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 35 grams of pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Pepper
  • salt
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar.

How to make a pesto dressing:

  1. Put the basil in the blender with the oil, mix it well.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree as much as you like. This can be very nice, but coarse is also an idea.
  3. Taste how the pesto tastes and add salt and pepper to your liking.
  4. For the dressing, mix 4 tablespoons of pesto with 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar.
  5. Take a few tablespoons of pesto and gradually mix in the white wine vinegar to make a nice dressing. Taste what you think in between and add more if you like.

Enjoy your meal!

Making Pesto Sauce

If you want to make a pesto sauce, proceed as follows:

What do you need:

  • Pesto (the green or the red as described above)
  • Soy cream (we use this from the AH)
Making Pesto Sauce

Making Pesto Sauce

Preparation: Put the pesto in a bowl and add a few spoons of soy cream. Stir both ingredients together so that you have a delicious Pesto sauce to put through the pasta.

Enjoy your meal!

Making and Storing Pesto

If you’ve been excited about making a delicious pesto and want to save the rest, here are the options.

  1. If you want to keep pesto in the fridge, you can do this in a clean jar. Pour a layer of olive oil on the pesto and close the lid. This way you can keep the pesto for a week.
  2. If you store the pesto without oil in a clean jar, you can keep it for 4 days.
  3. You can also store the pesto very well in the freezer without too much effort. Place the pesto in a freezer container with a tight-fitting lid. Put a sticker on the box and write on it what’s in it and until when it can be used. You can keep the pesto for 3 months.




Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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