If you love pesto, but cringe when you see its steep price tag at the store, this recipe is for you. One of the perks of summer is you can get huge bundles of basil at farmers markets for a steal to make homemade pesto on a budget. You can prepare large batches to freeze and have on hand throughout the year. Basil is also hardy and easy to grow in a pot at home. It can help ward off summer pests, like mosquitoes, too.

You can use this recipe to create a delicious grilled pie with pesto, mozzarella and fresh or sun-dried tomatoes. Pesto can also be used on sandwiches or wraps, salads, as a spread on bread and crackers, or as a dip. There are all kinds of pesto you can make instead of always using basil as the base – cilantro, arugula, sun-dried tomato and walnut, to name a few. A simple search online will yield countless recipes you can try.

Simple Basil Pesto


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (no stems)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan


    1. Combine basil, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor; pulse until it’s finely minced.
    2. With the machine running, slowly pour in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth.
    3. Add the cheese and process briefly – just long enough to incorporate it into the mix. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in a sealed plastic container or glass jar in the freezer for up to a year. A handy tip is freezing pesto in ice cube trays, then placing the frozen cubes in a plastic freezer bag so you have individual portions on hand. You can remove a frozen block of pesto and thaw it for a quick meal.
Adapted from cooking.nytimes.com