Greenest Basil Pesto Recipe

Serves: 4

Blanching keeps the basil from turning brown. This recipe can be used for both methods: using blanched basil leaves or fresh basil leaves. We're sold on blanching, but some have argued that it can steal some of the basil's flavor. We haven't noticed this at all -- if anything, we thought the pesto was sweeter and more fresh tasting.

Yield: 1 cup (1/4 cup servings)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes


2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted (see note)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for storing
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup finely grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese


Prepare a small bowl of ice water. Bring a small saucepan, filled halfway with salted water, to a boil.

Submerge basil leaves in boiling water for 5 to 10 seconds, or until wilted. Then, immediately plunge into ice water to stop cooking. Drain, squeeze to remove excess water then pat with a dish towel or paper towels until mostly dry.

Smash and peel garlic clove then mince finely. Holding a chef’s knife at an angle, scrape the blade of the knife across the minced garlic. Gather it all together then scrape it against the board again until it becomes a very fine paste.

Combine garlic paste and the pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until everything is chopped small. Add basil then with the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl. Once all the olive oil has been added, check the consistency of the pesto -- we like it to have some texture. If you prefer it smoother, pulse a few more times.

Transfer pesto to a bowl then stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Use immediately or store for later.

To store pesto, add a thin layer of extra olive oil to the top (to prevent any air from getting to it), cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 to 2 weeks. (You can also freeze up to 1 month).


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