How to make easy and classic homemade basil pesto

Homemade basil pesto with cheese tortellini is an absolute weekly staple in my home and I am SO happy about that. This wonderful classic pesto recipe is an entire family favorite, one of my consistently great recipes. Husband, kid, toddler, momma even my dog would probably love to get a piece – unfortunately for him the kids are not dropping even 1 piece of tortellini when it’s covered in pesto! In addition to homemade pesto packing incredible flavor, it’s also one of my favorite things to make because it’s so simple and a great, quick and easy weeknight dinners. With just a few simple ingredients, this delicious sauce includes things like fresh basil leaves and extra virgin olive oil, nutty parmesan cheese, raw garlic, a pinch of salt, this classic basil pesto recipe is an absolute favorite. More good news about this versatile sauce is you can use this green sauce as a pasta sauce, on pesto pizza as a dipping sauce or throw it in some minestrone soup. Fresh basil pesto is also delicious over a caprese salad this flavorful sauce really adds so much flavor to so many dishes. You could even make a salad dressing with some fresh herbs, extra-virgin olive oil and a tablespoon of basil pesto sauce. Obviously the basil pesto recipes are endless. I make a large batch so that there are leftovers, and bonus the leftovers can be enjoyed hot or cold. I love to make a large batch and freeze it so that I can enjoy classic pesto even in the winter months when the freshest basil isn’t available at my local farmers market, but most grocery stores carry basil all year round. I am always able to find a pack at Trader Joe. I also love that my entire family enjoys this dish, it fills my momma / wife cup to make one dish that the whole family utterly enjoys. This powerhouse meal comes together with just a few simple and fresh ingredients.

Now, my favorite way to make traditional basil pesto is in the food processor but using a powerful blender or nutribullet works great too! When using the food processor you will add your ingredients in stages to get the perfect consistency. Adding your dry pesto ingredients to the bowl of a food processor first and blending them all together until the basil, garlic cloves and pine nuts are perfectly and evenly chopped.

The mixture will stick to the sides of the food processor a little bit before adding the rest of the ingredients. Just pause and scrape the sides with a spatula.

Once you have a well blended mixture of dry ingredients you will start to drizzle in the olive oil, with the food processor switched to on, start to drizzle in until the mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the food processor bowl.

Transfer your basil pesto to a small container and you can stop here if you want to make a vegan basil pesto, if not add in your parmesan cheese or pecorino romano, either works great!

We love pesto over cheese tortellini but this would be great over zucchini noodles, whole grain pasta, cardboard lol. This wonderful recipe is really just the perfect addition to anything – thats why its one of my family’s favorite recipes – a quick meal with a five star rating from us!

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Homemade Basil Pesto

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  • Author: Vinessa Rae
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and stems removed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb cheese tortellini



  1. bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
  2. in a food processor add in basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper, blend until ingredients are finely chopped



  1. with processor switched to on, drizzle in olive oil until mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the food processor
  2. transfer pesto to a storage container and mix in grated parmesan
  3. top cooked tortellini with 2 tbsp of pesto or more as needed


store leftover pesto in a glass storage container. if freezing, make sure you are using a freezer safe storage container. once pesto is transferred, top with olive oil or lemon, this will keep the pest fresh. pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 30 days. storing leftover pesto in an ice cube tray is another great trick

  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Category: pasta
  • Method: food processor
  • Cuisine: italin


  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup



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