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Simple Homemade Pesto with Pine Nuts

Homemade pesto with pine nuts is easy. A tasty green sauce perfect with noodles and even chicken. How to make pesto sauce from scratch here. You can make pesto chicken thighs with it or fold some into pasta for dinner.

How to Make Pesto with Pine Nuts

You can make this simple 4 ingredient pesto with pine nuts recipe and tweak it any way you want beyond that. Add parmesan cheese for richness, more garlic or red pepper flakes if you want it to be a bit spicy too. Here’s the base to start with. (affiliate links present)

How to Make Pesto with Pine Nuts

The base of this popular sauce is in fact nuts. Not just any type but this variety. Added raw or roasted pine nuts adds a bit of smoky flavor into the mix. Use salt free seasoning if you want to cut down on the sodium or sea salt. Typically this would be tossed with cooked noodles when done but can be spread on chicken or served as a dip too.

There isn’t much this isn’t great on and it only takes about 5 minutes to prepare. Then you can enjoy on your main dish and side like roasted pesto potatoes and more. Let me show you how it is done, get out your food processor for best results;

Homemade Pine Nut Pesto

Pesto Without Pine Nuts

Ok so if you have an allergy but are really craving this there are alternatives to make it nut free. You can instead use carrot greens if you want to omit all of the nuts entirely. Remember that this will yield a looser mixture that won’t hold together as well as you see below, but possible.

Another idea is to use other varieties such as chopped walnuts, pistachios, almonds, or even sunflower seeds could work. Harder varieties such as roasted hazelnuts wouldn’t be able to break down quite as nicely and will have a grainier texture to it.

  • 2 bunches of fresh basil leaves
  • Pine nuts
  • Garlic cloves or 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • Grated parmesan cheese, grated, is optional
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup olive oil, use the good stuff
  • Salt and pepper

If you needed a dairy free mix you could eliminate the cheese but this type is low on the list of the amount of lactose it has in it. Doesn’t bother my husband but if it does you then just leave it out. A great substitution would be a few sun dried tomatoes if you love those.

Pesto Without Pine Nuts

Homemade Pine Nut Pesto

If you do not have a food processor you could make this just as nicely with a blender. Just add it all in there and pulse until it is the texture and consistency you desire. Don’t have either? I mean you’d need a sort of mortar and pestle to really grind down the nuts to smooth it out.

  • Place toasted pine nuts, grated parmesan, a pinch of salt and pepper, basil and garlic cloves in your food processor or blender.
  • Grind in a blender or food processor until nice and smooth.
  • Add your olive oil and continue whisking together until you get a smooth, thick pesto.

Everyone likes a different thickness per say so just add the oil slowly, blend, and add more if you want to thin it out. Easy enough to do. If you wanted to make this just a bit spicy I would add the dry Sriracha or red pepper flakes at the end. Start with 1/4 tsp, blend together and then taste. Adjust as desired.

Remember that if you are saving this vs. serving it right away the flavors will heighten as it sits so be careful. It saves quite nicely if stored properly but will get spicier the next day. Taste and see if it is just right so you will know the appropriate amount for next time.

Pesto with Pine Nuts

Pesto From Scratch

That is the best part about making this on your own at home. You can easily make this to serve with your dinner tonight and save some for another dish this week. Just transfer what is left into a jar that has a lid that will seal tightly, or wrap with plastic wrap.

Store in the fridge and use again within 3-4 days. You may want to thin it out a bit when you’re ready to use it again with some more extra virgin olive oil. To freeze spoon some into an ice cube tray and pop a few out when ready.

Pesto Recipes

We do have other nut recipes that are great too. For a great snack, try cajun boiled peanuts sometime. For ideas on how to serve this there are many. Like I said it is great brushed on to your main protein for dinnertime. From grilled steak to chicken, and even fish tastes amazing with a layer of this and a squeeze of lemon juice.

You can toss it with al dente pasta, brush on top of chicken, or add a dollop into our Crockpot chicken casserole to add a new flavor into the mix. It mixes well with alfredo to tweak that up a bit too. Jump to recipe and make your own homemade basil pesto and let us know what you think!

Air Fryer Pesto Chicken

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How to Make Pesto with Pine Nuts
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Pesto with Pine Nuts

Homemade pesto with pine nuts is easy. A tasty green sauce perfect with noodles and even chicken. How to make pesto sauce from scratch here.
Course Dip
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword homemade, pesto, pine nuts, sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 74kcal
Author The Typical Mom




  • Place basil leaves in a blender, add pine nuts, grated parmesan, a pinch of salt and pepper, and chopped garlic cloves. Grind in a blender until smooth.
  • Add olive oil and continue whisking until you get a smooth, thick pesto.


Nutrition Facts
Pesto with Pine Nuts
Amount Per Serving (1 oz)
Calories 74 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 2mg1%
Sodium 27mg1%
Potassium 23mg1%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 0.1g0%
Sugar 0.1g0%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 89IU2%
Vitamin C 0.5mg1%
Calcium 16mg2%
Iron 0.2mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
simple homemade pesto with pine nuts
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