Basil pesto is easy to make and freeze, preserving the fresh flavors of summer. Healthy and versatile – pesto is perfect brushed on grilled meats, tossed with steamed veggies, or stirred into soup.
I love preparing homemade basil pesto in bulk during the summer when fresh basil can be found in bunches. I can prepare the sauce in just minutes, and it’s also extremely versatile and ideal for freezing. When you’re in need of a quick lunch or dinner, you can take a cube of frozen pesto and have a sauced up pasta in minutes! It’s actually super simple, and I’ll show you how easy it is to make and freeze your own basil pesto.
- Fresh basil: Whether from your own yard or the store or farmer’s market, it needs to be fresh!
- Parmesan: Nutty and salty, it adds texture and flavor to the sauce.
- Pine nuts: Instead of using raw pine nuts, I like to toast them to add a deep, rich flavor.
- Garlic: Earthy, nutty, and somewhat spicy, it adds rich flavor to the pesto.
- Lemon juice and zest: Brightens up the flavor while adding an acidic balance to the olive oil, cheese, and nuts.
- Olive oil: Helps to evenly distrubute the ingredients as they blend and gives the pesto its spreadable consistency.
how to Make and Freeze Basil Pesto
Start making your pesto by toasting your pine nuts. Toss them in the oven at 350 for about 6 or 7 minutes, until nice and brown.
While the pine nuts are toasting, you can wash and dry your fresh basil.
Then pick the basil leaves off of the stems and add to a food processor.
Followed by the grated parmesan cheese.
Then add your garlic cloves and fresh lemon zest.
Next add your toasted pine nuts.
Finish with some salt and pepper to taste, before turning on your food processor.
As your pesto blends, slowly add the olive oil until it arrives at your desired consistency.
Finish it off with the fresh lemon juice, and you are ready to serve over some pasta, brushed onto grilled meat, or whatever you can think of!
However if you aren’t using it all for your dish, take a clean ice cube tray and fill with the pesto. Cover (plastic wrap will work if your trays don’t come with lids), and place in the freezer. Alternatively, you could put dollops of pesto in plastic wrap or in Ziploc bags and freeze them that way! You’ll now have basil pesto at the ready for months going forward!
- If you don’t have basil: spinach, parsley, arugula or cilantro
- Instead of the parmesan : pecorino, romano, or Grana Padano cheese
- In place of the pine nuts : walnuts, pistachios, or cashews
Frequently Asked Questions:
How long does homemade pesto keep for?
Pesto keeps for 5-7 days in the refrigerator.
How long does frozen pesto keep for?
Frozen pesto will keep for at least 3 months.
Does olive oil have to be used to make pesto?
Olive oil prevents oxidation and slows the pesto from turning brown. I’ve never tried not using olive oil.
Recipes with Pesto
- Pesto Chicken Pasta with Swiss Chard
- Grilled Turkey Burgers with Pesto
- Tomato Caprese Skewers with Pesto
- Grilled Pesto Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella
- Sausage Pesto Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Peas
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Eat it now, or eat it later, now that you know how to make and freeze basil pesto, you’ll start using it all the time!
Your fork is waiting.
How To Make And Freeze Basil Pesto
- To toast pine nuts, place on a baking sheet in an even layer and bake at 350 for 6-7 minutes until browned.
- In a large food processor, pulse together basil, parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice and zest.
- Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.