Your essential basil pesto recipe

basil-pesto-recipe-blenderThe sauce that spruces up a sandwich, makes finger food stand out, and turns a simple pasta into an amazing authentic dish: it’s the classic Italian pesto. Pesto, usually made with the same basic ingredients packs a punch, which makes it one of the most popular condiments in South African kitchens too.

A fresh pesto is easy to blend together with your OmniBlend. This recipe has been developed by Le’Chelle Aldrige, and will be your classic go-to recipe for homemade pesto. To make this recipe vegan, replace the parmesan with nutritional yeast or make your own vegan parmesan. The vegan parmesan is easy to grind with your OmniBlend blender too. For both grinding nuts and blending textures like a pesto we recommend the narrow base OmniBlend jugs. 

Pesto is the perfect sauce to make when you’re growing basil in abundance in your garden. You can freeze leftovers well so that you always have some on hand later. Basil grows best in the full sun, and in well-drained soil. You can also grow it well in containers, and just make sure you water it well to keep the soil moist.

As an alternative to basil, you could use other herbs, or even kale! Try this Kale & Herb Pesto, or Kale Pesto for a linguine with beetroot and crispy chickpeas. Both are made using cashew and/or walnuts instead of pine nuts. Original pesto recipes mostly use pine nuts however they can be hard to get by and get very expensive. Cashews and walnuts are very good substitutes for pine nuts, making your money go further.

This basil pesto is true to its origin, using pine nuts, and has depth of flavour by using roasted garlic. While not completely necessary, roasting the garlic is worth the effort and you can use the remaining roasted cloves in your other recipes this week. Garlic has so many health benefits that you’ll want to use it often, so having some ready roasted will make it easier to add flavour to your meals.


  • 2 large handfuls fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup pine or walnuts (pine nuts are pretty pricey & can be hard to find so opt for the walnuts if you're on a budget.)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parmesan shavings
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic
  • 2 squeezes lemon juice (about 1 tbs)
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Cut the ‘head’ (the sticky out bit) of the garlic, to expose the raw cloves and drizzle with olive oil & roast on 180°C until tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Remove any large stems and toss your basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan, lemon juice & spices into your high-speed blender (I use the OmniBlend V - 2lt narrow base).
  3. Blend on high until all the basil leaves have been incorporated, scrapping down the sides as needed.
  4. Serve with fresh bread, hummus & cheese board or separate into glass jars for the fridge and freezer.

Use a 250g glass jar and keep in the fridge (lasts up to a week) and two 125g jars for the freezer. Defrost fully before using.

OmniBlend hints & tips

To make it easy to scrape sauces and spreads out of the jug we recommend using a silicon spatula. Look for a spatula that has the right size to fit in the corners of the jug, like the Le Creuset medium spatula. This spatula reaches the corners and makes it easy to scrape everything out of the jug. You can find other nifty accessories for your OmniBlend here.

All OmniBlend blender models that we have listed for homeuse have a narrow base jug. These models are the most versatile and suited for smoothies, smoothie bowls, nice cream, nut butter, soups, nut mylk, and grinding dry ingredients. For more information to decide on the best blender for household use, we recommend reading this article.

Inspired to make more sauces at home? Find more recipes for spreads and sauces here.

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