Lemon basil tastes just like basil, but with an added hint of lemon. It’s truly a delicate and beautiful flavor and a perfect ingredient to make lemon basil pesto with!
I’m so excited to share my favorite pesto recipe with you because it’s fresh, amazing and so incredibly easy to make. If you’ve never made pesto, take this as your sign to give it a try.
What ingredients do you need to make lemon basil pesto?
- Lemon basil leaves, or you could use regular basil and a squeeze of lemon juice
- Parmesan cheese
- Pine nuts
The key to making really good pesto is toasting the pine nuts. It only takes a few minutes, but it will add a beautiful subtle toasted nuttiness to the pesto. And after toasting the pine nuts, the only thing to do is throw all the ingredients in a food processor, process, and voila, pesto! It’s so easy!
I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you a funny story about pesto. Growing up my mom always made a delicious pesto pasta salad that she brought to all pot lucks, but it would always get in peoples’ teeth and my sisters and I would laugh. Ever since it has been a big no-no to eat pesto in public (but the pasta salad is super delicious and we still request it to this day).
When my husband and I were getting married, one venue said that with our limited budget what we would be looking at in terms of food would be something like a bowl of pesto pasta salad. I immediately shrieked ‘NO! It’ll get in my teeth’ and we moved on. When my husband was telling my sisters the story of the past suggestion, they (I have 3 sisters) said almost in unison ‘NO! It’ll get in people’s teeth!’, my hubby LOL’d and always tells the story of how my sisters and I had the same response.
As much as pesto makes me laugh because of the above story, I love basil for so many reasons. Not only can it make an amazing pesto, but you can use it in other delicious recipes like these:
- 5 ingredient pesto salmon
- Basil vodka lemonade (or try it without vodka)
- 5 ingredient pesto chicken salad bagel sandwiches
- 5 ingredient chicken gnocchi with alfredo pesto
Lemon Basil Pesto
- 2 cups Lemon basil leaves loosely packed into the measuring cup, or regular basil with a squeeze of lemon juice
- 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- 1/4 cup Pine Nuts toasted
- 1 Garlic clove
- Preheat oven to 350, line a baking sheet with aluminum.
- Place the pine nuts on baking sheet and bake for 3-5 minutes until they are golden brown.
- When pine nuts are done toasting put all ingredients into a food processor, pulsate for about a minute until well combined, and then you have pesto.
Looks great. Thanks for sharing.
Debbie Cusick says
I can’t use Parmesan cheese, would it be OK to leave it out. I love pesto, This one is quick and easy.
Yes, you could definitely try that – I’d add more greens (perhaps add in some spinach 😉 )
Is that 2 cups loose leaf, or two cups compressed leaf or two cups food processes leaf? Also.. care to share that pasta salad recipe?? 🙂
Hi Crystal, it’s two cups loose leaf, I’ll go ahead and update the recipe, thank you! And here are two pasta salads you might love: https://sweetphi.com/whole-wheat-pasta-salad-with-yogurt-dressing/ and https://sweetphi.com/creamy-italian-herb-pasta-salad-perfect-picnic/
This sounds like an excellent recipe, but I would drizzle the oil to help emulsify, & prevent the oil from separating.
Thank you so much for the tip 🙂
Amy Venn says
Such a great starting point for pesto! I altered your ratios slightly to make more and added in more garlic (because I have an addiction to the stuff) Thanks for the recipe! It worked beautifully!
I gave you a shout out on my blog for the inspiration 🙂
Thank you so much for the feedback, so glad you enjoyed the recipe 🙂
I love lemon basil! To me, it tastes so much more fresh and flavorful than regular. — And I love your tip of toasting the pine nuts beforehand! Must try that. 🙂
You’re so right, lemon basil is super fresh and flavorful 🙂 And toasting the pine nuts…yum, you should definitely try it 🙂 Thanks for commenting!
I just had spinach basil pesto on corn on the cob last week and it was so good! The only downside is corn is way out of season here but come February I’m definitely putting pesto on local sweet corn.
Oh yum, spinach basil pesto sounds great, I’ll definitely need to try it….especially since spinach and corn on the cob are definitely in ample supply at the farmers market!