Fresh Pesto Sauce

Updated June 2014

Every spring we love to plant a little “container garden” on our small suburban patio.  A couple of tomato plants, some basil, Italian parsley and other herbs keep us stocked up all summer long.  One of my "city garden" favorites is a fresh pesto sauce that tastes great on pasta dishes, panini sandwiches and pizza.  It’s so much better than the sauce that you buy in a jar.  This pesto recipe is especially good when made with basil and parsley picked just a few hours before the meal.  In the winter we’ll buy the fresh basil and Italian parsley from the grocery store when it’s available.

This is a very quick and easy pesto recipe to make.  It has a nice robust garlic flavor.  If you prefer a more subtle garlic taste, roast the garlic first.  Then it will have a sweeter and milder flavor.  You can also make a lower fat version by replacing half of the olive oil with chicken broth.  It tastes great too!

Here’s a great example of eco-friendly cooking.  The main ingredients can easily be grown in your own garden.  You can’t get more local than that.  When served on pasta, the only sizable ingredients for the meal that require transportation are the dry pasta and small amount of olive oil, and there’s almost no packing material to discard.


Reasons that this Pesto Recipe is Eco Friendly

  • Vegetables are a low carbon producing food.
  • No disposable packaging to recycle or throw away.
  • No transporting of heavy jars of sauce.

Reasons that this Pesto Recipe is Healthy

  • Fresh basil, parsley, lemon and garlic are very high in vitamin C and other key antioxidants.  Basil and garlic are good sources of calcium.  Pine nuts are high in dietary fiber.  Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat, the healthiest type of fat.
  • No preservatives or pesticides when using organic ingredients

2 cups fresh basil leaves (tightly packed)
1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves (tightly packed)
4 large cloves of garlic
¼ cup pine nuts
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
     For a lower fat option use:
     ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
     ¼ cup chicken stock
½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)

Recipe Summary:
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: none
Total: 15 minutes
Makes 1.5 cups sauce

You will need a food processor or blender


You will need a food processor or blender

In the food processor blend the basil, Italian parsley, garlic, pine nuts and lemon juice.  Slowly add the olive oil as you blend, continuing until the mixture is smooth.  Add the shredded parmesan cheese and pulse the food processor a few times to mix in the cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

You can serve the pesto sauce immediately on pasta or sandwiches.  Refrigerate leftover sauce in a small airtight container or freeze it to keep longer.