Homemade Pesto in 3 Easy Steps and Recipe Ideas

salmon topped with pesto on a bed of quinoa.
Salmon baked with pesto on a bed of quinoa. 
As I stare out the window here in Edmonton, I am quickly realizing that Fall is swooping in! With the colder days coming just around the corner, I enjoy making more hot meals for dinner. So, having a jar of fresh pesto on hand is perfect for adding a little more texture and flavour to a dinner item. Plus, with a basil plant like mine (pictured below), I need to keep making more pesto!
Basil plant!
Making your own pesto is quite easy and you only need a few ingredients. Having a food processor is also super handy. 
Making pesto: basil, toasted almonds, hard cheese, salt & pepper and extra olive virgin oil.
Making pesto: basil, toasted almonds, hard cheese, salt & pepper and extra olive virgin oil. 

Pesto Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds or walnuts
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 50g hard cheese cut into cubes (provolone/asiago/parmesan) 
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (depends on how spicy you want it)
  • salt and pepper to taste


1. Add the basil, roasted almonds, garlic cloves, cheese, and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the food processor. 
all pesto items in the food processor.
Throwing all the pesto ingredients into the food processor. 
 2. Process all the ingredients together. Add more olive oil to the mixture if the pesto seems too dry.
Process all of the ingredients.
Process all of the ingredients to make pesto. 
3. Turn on the food processor and blend all the ingredients together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once the mixture reaches your desired consistency (either chunky or more finely processed) you are ready to use the pesto. 
Close-up of the homemade pesto.

Ideas for Using Pesto

Make baked pesto salmon. After making the pesto, spread by the spoonfuls onto the salmon. 
Salmon topped with homemade pesto, ready for the oven.
Bake the salmon at 425F for about 15 minutes. This will also vary depending on the thickness and size of your salmon. 
Bake the salmon at 425F for approximately 15 minutes.
Serve the pesto salmon with quinoa for a tasty, yet fulfilling meal.
Baked pesto salmon on a bed of quinoa. 

Another option is to make thin crust pizzas and use the pesto as a topping. 

There are so many great options for homemade pesto. I also enjoy mixing it into pasta, spreading it like a condiment on burgers, hotdogs and sandwiches for lunch. I have also found that using toasted almonds in the pesto gives it quite a different taste compared to toasted walnuts. Try out the two types of nuts and see what you like better. What else would you do with pesto?


  1. Great post! How did you grow such a healthy basil plant?!

    1. @SunshineSLP this basil plant originally came from Canadian Tire and was a wee little thing. It used to face south in the previous apartment, but since we moved in April it receives light from both North and East windows. During the winter months, I have a UV grow light that turns on for 1 hour around 1am so the plants can get any sunlight that it may have missed during the day. Proper irrigation seems to make a huge difference as well. Using clean tea bags (the ones you get to place loose tea in), I cut them up and layer them on the bottom of the pot before putting in the soil and the plant. Lastly, mixing in some water beads helps the plant with retaining water. That way, every time you water the plant, he water beads slowly intake the water and over time release it to the plant as needed.

  2. Lil, love your blog! I love pesto with a passion and use basil leaves in sooo many things. One of my favourites is a rustic Italian pasta sauce, where you toss in a bunch of cherry tomatoes, carrots, onions, tons of garlic and basil and olive oil into a roasting pan and everything carmelizes into a delicious, healthy sauce. Mmmm!!! I'll be checking in to your blog for more delicious recipe ideas...that is, if the little ones don't make my life so crazy, I opt for KD instead. haha. Great to see what you're up to these days! :)


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