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. I can prepare the sauce in just minutes, and it’s also extremely versatile and ideal for freezing. Since basil can be pricey during cooler months of the year, having frozen pesto on hand in the freezer is like having money in the bank.
Chances are, you are either growing basil in your backyard or live near a farmer who is selling it for pennies. Making and freezing pesto is the perfect use for an abundance of fragrant fresh herbs.
For a simple guide on washing and storing dark leafy greens (including basil!), check out my tips and video tutorial. It’s the best way to make fresh greens such as romaine, kale, or Swiss chard last longer in the fridge.
If you don’t have every ingredient listed, get creative, and use what you have on hand with this easy swap-out guide:
- Basil :: spinach, parsley, arugula or cilantro
- Parmesan :: pecorino, romano, or Grana Padano cheese
- Pine nuts :: walnuts, pistachios, or cashews
Brighten up the flavor with fresh lemon juice and zest while adding a great acidic balance to the olive oil, cheese, and nuts. Pro tip: Instead of using raw pine nuts, toast them to add deep, rich flavor in less than 10 minutes!
Pesto is packed with health benefits including heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids from the olive oil, iron from the leafy greens, and vitamin C from the lemon. Added bonus? Iron helps boost the absorption of vitamin c so consuming them together is a win-win.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How long can you keep homemade pesto for?
Pesto keeps for 5-7 days in the refrigerator.
How do I freeze pesto?
To freeze, pour the pesto into an ice cube tray and place in the freezer for 2 hours. Remove from frozen pesto cubes and store them in a resealable plastic bag until future use.
How long does frozen pesto keep for?
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.
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.
For more great recipes, check out my Pinterest board!