Pesto Sauce

Pesto sauce is a delicious, herby sauce that originates from Genoa in Italy. It’s traditionally made with fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil and pine nuts, and can be enjoyed in all sorts of dishes – from pasta and pizza, to chicken and fish. Read on to find out how to make your own pesto sauce at home.


  • 1 bunch of fresh basil (approx. 30g)
  • 30g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Start by washing the basil and removing any tough stems. Then, place the basil leaves into a blender or food processor.
  2. Add the Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Blitz until everything is combined and you have a smooth pesto sauce.
  3. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. If you want a thinner pesto sauce, add a little more olive oil. If you want it to be more garlicky, add another clove of garlic.
  4. Pesto sauce will keep in a jar, covered with a layer of olive oil, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Potential changes & improvements

There are all sorts of ways you can change up this pesto sauce recipe to suit your own taste. For example, you could try adding:

  • Different herbs, such as mint, parsley or cilantro
  • Different nuts, such as almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts
  • Different cheeses, such as feta, goat’s cheese or mozzarella

What other food it works well with

Pesto sauce is incredibly versatile and can be used in all sorts of dishes. Here are some of our favourite ways to enjoy it:

  • Tossed through hot pasta with some grilled chicken or salmon
  • Spread onto pizza dough before topping with your favourite ingredients
  • Added to soup or used as a dipping sauce
  • Stirred through roasted vegetables or used as a salad dressing

Common Mistakes

When making pesto sauce, it’s important to avoid these common mistakes:

  • Not using fresh basil – pesto sauce just doesn’t taste the same without it!
  • Not tasting the sauce and adjusting the seasoning as necessary – everyone’s tastes are different, so make sure the pesto sauce is to your liking before serving.
  • Over-blitzing the sauce – you want a smooth pesto sauce, but if you blitz it for too long, it will become oily and lose its bright green colour.

Nutritional Information

One serving of pesto sauce (approx. 30g) contains:

  • Calories: 107
  • Fat: 11.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.7g
  • Carbohydrates: 1.5g
  • Sugar: 0.2g
  • Fiber: 0.4g
  • Protein: 2.3g
  • Salt: 0.4g


  • Basil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Pine nuts

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