Emerald Green Pesto
Every summer my family makes huge batches of pesto that we freeze to enjoy later in the year. With a supply always on hand, it’s easy on a busy night to make a fuss-free dish of pasta with pesto sauce. It also adds a fresh flavor burst when stirred into vegetable soups, drizzled over pizzas, or spooned over grilled fish or chicken. We often add a heaping spoonful of pesto to our Lemon Vinaigrette and toss it with a salad of mixed baby greens sprinkled with toasted pine nuts and grated Parmesan cheese. Our Farm Stand pesto recipe adds parsley to the traditional ingredients to help keep the basil’s bright green color vibrant. If you prefer, you can also substitute an equal amount of baby spinach with excellent results. For a traditional pesto, use only basil.
Freshly made pesto will keep for a month in the refrigerator. Preserve its vivid green color by pouring a thin film of olive oil over the pesto to seal out the air. Pesto can be frozen for up to three months; place it in small containers with tight fitting lids so you can thaw just the amount you need. For even smaller portions, freeze the pesto in ice cube trays and transfer the cubes to a resealable plastic freezer bag to add to dressings or garnish soups.
Total Timeunder 15 minutes
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, low carb, peanut free, soy free, vegetarian
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturecheesy, garlicky, herby, nutty, savory
Type of Dishpasta sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 6 packed cups fresh basil leaves
- ½ packed cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, baby spinach, or more basil
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 cup olive oil, plus (optional) more for storing the pesto
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (3 ounces) finely and freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Place the garlic, basil, parsley, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
With the machine running constantly, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, until the pesto is smooth, stopping when needed to scrape the side with a rubber spatula.
Transfer the pesto to a medium-size bowl. Add the salt and Parmesan cheese and stir to combine. For storing and freezing instructions see the sidebar, this page.
2006 Myra Goodman