Dinner/ Recipes

A Mortar and a Pestle and Presto! Pesto

This is a LOT of basil. 10 cups to be precise. What do you do with 10 cups of basil. Make pesto. Duh.


Simple Homemade Pesto

Perfected Pesto

  • 2 c. basil
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 clove of garlic (or to taste)
  • 3 T. toasted pine nuts
  • 2 T. grated Parmesan
  • 2 T. grated Romano
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • pinch of freshly ground pepper
Easy directions

1. Stick it all in a food processor and blend. Devour how you wish.

However, for the ultimate experience, use a mortar and pestle. They are actually pretty cheap to obtain. The flavors come out better with a mortar and pestle. Really, they do.

Mortar & Pestle Instructions

The order that you mix it in is important. So pay attention!

  1. Grind the salt, pepper, and garlic in a mortar and pestle.
  2. Add basil to mortar and grind away with the pestle.
  3. Drive your significant other crazy with the pounding and grinding noise.
  4. Slowly add most of the olive oil. Add a little, grind. Add a little more, and grind some more.
  5. Add cheeses and grind.
  6. Add more olive oil and grind.
  7. Add pine nuts and any remaining olive oil and grind to desired consistency.
  8. If you’re not going to use all of your pesto at once, scoop it into ice cube trays and freeze. Once solid, pop them out and put them in a ziplock bag.


Enjoy with bread, on a sandwich, in an omelet, with pasta, with a spoon, whatever. πŸ™‚

What’s your favorite way to use pesto?


  • Jacquie

    I like it drizzled on a vegetable soup or in a salad with lemon juice and fresh tomatoes.

    mmm… now I want to go make some…

  • Lindsay @ Summit Sandwiches

    On a turkey sandwich! It adds soooo much flavor.

  • christina

    i just started eating pesto. i had it on a baguette with turkey, cheese, and sunddried tomato. so delish! i need to make my own.

  • Lisa

    Ooooo my. Fresh Pesto. My favorite thing. I like it pretty simple–pasta, in pizza. Yum.

  • legalstyle

    I love homemade pesto! It’s on my summer to-do list, for sure. (But I wish I had a significant other who loved gardening!) (Or I wish I had a place to have a garden!)

  • Ashley

    LOL loooove it!!!! I made it once with mortar and pestle..but this recipe is probably much better! How’s your house smelling? πŸ˜‰

  • Jessica @ How Sweet

    I love pesto but have never made it with my mortar and pestle! I don’t know if I’d have the patience. πŸ™‚

  • Lauren

    A man with a good pesto…..every woman’s dream! πŸ™‚

  • Angela @ A Healthy Fit

    I love pesto. We grew some basil last year, but we don’t really have a good garden spot. Damn apartment. We do compost!!! Composting is the greatest thing. More people should do it and there would be way less trash filling up landfills.

  • Megan @ The Oatmeal Diaries

    Haha I like Rob’s life goal!
    My favorite way to have pesto is probably just to put it in pasta. You really can’t go wrong with that, especially if you throw some cherry tomatoes in there too!

  • andi

    yummmm. our favorites are: crusty baguette with fresh mozzarella, pesto, and a basil leaf (you know, for good measure) or sandwiches with a simple roasted chicken (salt, pepper, olive oil) shredded, shmear of pesto and the aforementioned mozz. our garden definitely is basil heavy too. it’s marvelous. πŸ™‚

    • Teri

      So funny that you wrote the extra basil leaf. I made that same sandwich yesterday, but with goat cheese because I didn’t have mozzarella. And Rob made fun of me for putting on an extra basil leaf! But I like that extra kick! πŸ™‚

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman

    This is great–I’ve never made my own pesto, so I could use a recipe. We’re growing basil, too, and it’s almost like a bush now. I think this will be a good way to eat a bunch of it.

  • Nichole

    I haven’t been brave enough to attempt homemade pesto but I love it in scrambled eggs and we use it on pizza instead of tomato sauce.

    You really can’t go wrong with good pesto, bread and cheese. Nice work!

  • Lauren @ Health on the Run

    It’s so awesome that you’ve built your garden from scratch. And a husband who has perfected a pesto recipe — definitely a keeper!! πŸ˜‰

    I love pesto on most things — especially salads, sandwiches, and pasta. It also makes a great pizza sauce for regular pizza or (my favorite) naan pizza. I wish I had an entire garden of basil because it’s usually so dang expensive. Also, I don’t have a mortal and pestle. I didn’t really think about the fact that the flavors would be different if you make pesto this way, but that makes sense. If/when I ever invest in one, I’ll definitely come back to these instructions!

  • Jennifer @ shesafitchick

    Yumm, thanks for sharing! My BF will love this (he loves pesto). I love pesto on panini’s. I love the flavor with melted cheese on hot bread.. yumm!

  • Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble

    Mmmm… I love pesto! I like it on sandwiches and crackers and pasta and just about everything.

    Just a tip, I heard you should freeze the pesto without adding cheese. Something about the cheese keeping it from not freezing as well and then add the cheese when you’re ready to use.

    • Teri

      That is good to know! I always think the cheese looks so weird when it’s frozen anyway. Thanks!

  • Emily

    OMGosh – you have to try the Pesto Chicken and Grape Pizza recipe I found in Cooking Light – it’s ah-mazing.

  • Alycia @ Fit n Fresh

    So crazy – I’ve totally been craving pesto and scouring the internet for some new recipes! I just got some homemade pasta that I think would perfectly complement some pesto and I’m definitely gonna give yours a whirl! Or a grind, in this case (:

    Other things that pesto is amazing on = egg sandwiches, english muffins with cheese, pizza and bruschetta!

  • [email protected]'s Going The Distance

    Ohhhh I love pesto and have always wanted to make my own!! I found your blog through the many other food/fitness blogs and it’s ADORABLE πŸ™‚

  • highonhealthy

    This is going to be hard to believe but.. I have never had pesto before. Ever. Is it possible to make a pesto without cheese? What in the world would I use it for/with?

    • Teri

      WHAT??? That is terrible. It’s amazing. And yes, you could totally leave out the cheese! Most of the flavor comes from the garlic and basil anyway. Read all the comments for suggestions – sandwiches, pasta, pizza, anything!

  • Alex @ IEatAsphalt

    Pesto is great on roasted potatoes. It also makes a great topping on veggie mush (essentially whatever you’ve got fried up in butter + rice). My cousin makes an obscene amount of pesto to sell at market in the summer but the entire farm smells so amazing from all the basil.

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter

    Putting pesto on top of bread is fantastic!

    I love pesto in my veggie sandwiches, omelettes and pretty much anywhere.

  • Lia

    Yum! Try it on a fried egg sandwich. Or pasta of course. Or pizza. πŸ™‚

  • Miranda @ Mirandasjeans

    I love using Pesto as a maranade. It’s great on chicken and tofu. I imagine it would be equally as good on some salmon or any fish. It’s also Faboo on sandwiches…. Mmmmm pesto! πŸ˜€

    • Teri

      great idea to use it with tofu! I didn’t think of that!

  • Claire

    My boyf has been obsessed with his herbs recently…so we have sooooo much basil to use. I think some pesto is in order for tomorrow so thanks for the recipe lady!

    • Teri

      I hope you like it!

  • Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards)

    Yay, pesto! I love it. Especially on gnocchi, which is a top 5 food for me. The only bad thing is how it seems to stay stuck in my teeth and on my breath for about two entire days after…

  • Carissa

    I adore homemade pesto. Thanks to your husband for revealing the family secret. I’ll have to give it a whirl.. πŸ™‚