Classic Basil Pesto

PREP TIME: 5mins


Classic Basil Pesto, super easy and quick and I love the taste of fresh herbs. The real beauty of a pesto is its flexibility , use any nut or any soft herb and you can add any additional flavourings. Use a mix of what you have.  Traditionalist will say to pound in a pestle and mortar for a classic pesto, which I 100% get, but when you have 20min to feed a hungry family I see whizz!

Traditionally a classic pesto (Genovese from the town Genoa in Italy) is made using pine nuts, most pine nuts in SA is imported from China and very expensive, I use local toasted sunflower seeds for a more sustainable and cheaper alternative.

Vegan? Just take the cheese out, no one in my family even notices. For me, the vegan cheese substitutes are too full of additives to justify the use.

Serving Suggestion:

Serving suggestions:I love pesto with penne or orecchiette (small ear shape pasta) with lots of broccoli, I have a wonderful recipe here.  Perfect on roasted veg and love this as a dressing over perfect salad leaves.


  • 2 big handfuls of fresh basil (leaves picked)
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts (or toasted sunflower seeds)
  • 1 handful of freshly grated Parmesan
  • A good extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon zest (small squeeze of juice)
  • 1/2 small garlic clove – minced


Place the, basil, garlic and pine nuts into a food processor (small bowl) and pulse to a rough paste, add the parmesan and some oil and pulse again until fine. Slowly start to stir more oil until your desired consistency.

Season with salt, pepper and lemon. Taste. Top with some olive oil and keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

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