I’ve had a relative glut of basil recently from a plant an old housemate left in the flat. Who knew that plants need plant food? Go figure. For me, fresh pesto was a revelation. I find the jarred stuff a bit artificial tasting, but fresh pesto has a real zing and next time, I’ll show you a simple, filling and healthy use for it.


Due to the exorbitant price of pine nuts, I did a little test this time and made half of the batch with walnuts. Personally, I didn’t think the walnut pesto was quite as nice but I would still make it again considering how much of a saving it is.


  • 2 packed cups fresh basil leaves (you’d get this amount from one small supermarket plant)
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (you can use normal olive oil)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan (I use pecorino and freeze the remainder for next time)


  1. Strip your basil plant and thoroughly wash the leaves, shaking off as much excess water as possible.Image
  2. If using walnuts, chop either by hand or in a food processor.
  3. Put the basil, garlic and nuts in the processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
  4. With the processor running, pour in 1/2 cup of the oil. Don’t process for too long, just until the oil is incorporated. If you’re using a hand-blender, don’t worry about having it running while pouring the oil.Image
  5. Season to taste, then stir in the cheese (unless you want to freeze it, in which case, just pop in a container and pour the remaining oil on top. I also think it would be okay to freeze with the cheese in it).
  6. If using immediately, stir through the remaining oil. If you’re going to store it in the fridge, put the pesto in a jar and pour the oil in a layer on top.Image

Here, the walnut’s on the left and pine nut’s on the right.