Simple Basil Pesto

I adore fresh pesto.  It is so easy to make and brings incredible flavor to everything: pasta, sandwiches, grilled vegetables, rice, pizza—it’s an addition of something lovely every time.  Traditional pesto calls for Parmesan cheese but this one simply omits it and ups the ante with extra pine nuts and lemon.  Besides, shouldn’t the basil be the star?


Quantity Unit Name Link Alternatives
cups fresh basil
1-2 cloves garlic
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup pine nuts
cup water (depending on desired consistency)
½ cup extra virgin oil
1 teaspoon salt


  1. Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  2. Use as a dressing, pasta sauce, toast topper, or on baked potatoes.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Serving Size: 3 cups
Sarah Yoo

Sarah Yoo is the associate director of Life & Health but wears a few dozen hats as other this-and-thats, as is the norm in non-profit work. Her favorite part about working at Life & Health is meeting the people that Life & Health content has helped. Ultimately, Sarah dreams of doing humanitarian work in a developing country with her family.

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