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 Jung
Sarah Jung

Sarah Jung is the associate director of Life and Health Network, but wears a plethora of hats as editor, communications director, and sometimes photographer. Unrelated to Life and Health, Sarah is the country director and founding member of Oon Jai Foundation, a non-profit organization that seeks to empower people living in developing countries through friendship and working, learning, and mentoring side-by-side with the locals. In her spare time, Sarah likes to read, write, and find mountains to climb.

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