Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe

One of the hardest adjustments when adapting to our grain-free lifestyle was finding substitutes for classic Italian foods. Ingredients like pasta, mozzarella cheese, and gnocchi are harder when you’re gluten-free and dairy-free.

While we’ve since incorporated some dairy and grains back into our meals, I’ve found I still like the healthy alternative recipes I created over the years. This easy pesto recipe with fresh basil is one of those. Fresh pesto sauce with garlic cloves and fresh basil has nothing on store-bought versions!

Best Pesto Recipe From Scratch

While store-bought pesto isn’t terrible, it’s hard to find one without unhealthy vegetable oils. Thankfully, basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow. I don’t have much of a green thumb, but even I can’t seem to kill it. In fact, one summer, we had three foot tall basil plants take over the garden.

I made big batches of this pesto when the basil was ready for harvest and froze it to use all year! This was much easier since the pesto was ready to go whenever I needed it.

Best of all, basil has a whole list of uses as a natural remedy in tonics, teas, and more. I tie any unused basil by the stems in bunches and hang them upside down to dry for future use. (Placing the basil in a paper bag is recommended to catch any crumbling leaves.)

Pesto Recipe Ingredients

Most pesto recipes rely on parmesan cheese or pecorino romano for a creamy tang. This version though is dairy-free (but still full of flavor!). Pesto is essentially a puree of fresh basil, nuts, olive oil, and garlic. It has a lovely green color and packs quite a flavor punch.

Many versions call for toasted pine nuts, but I use almonds instead. You could also try pecans, pistachios, cashews, or sunflower seeds for a nut-free version.

How to Use Pesto

There are plenty of different ways to use this delicious sauce! It tastes good with almost any Italian or pasta dish. I’ve even added a dollop of it on omelets, coconut flour biscuits (with savory fillings), and grain-free bread. Here are a few more ideas for how to use your pesto:

Storing Homemade Pesto

I mentioned earlier that I like to make this in big batches to store for later. If you don’t have that much basil on hand, then it also works well in the fridge and can keep for up to 2 weeks.

For an easy single-serve version I also like to pour the pesto into an ice cube tray and freeze. Then simply pop them out and store the cubes in a freezer-safe container. This way you can thaw out as many cubes as you need at a time.

pesto recipe

Basil Pesto Recipe

Fresh basil, garlic, and olive oil… what could be better?
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Calories 114kcal
Author Katie Wells


1 cup



  • 2 cups fresh basil (packed)
  • ½ cup raw almonds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼-1/2 cup olive oil (to desired consistency)
  • salt (to taste)


  • Put basil, almonds, and garlic in a blender.
  • Turn the blender on and slowly add the oil until the pesto is the desired consistency.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Use right away or store in the fridge or freezer.


Nutrition Facts
Basil Pesto Recipe
Amount Per Serving (2 TBSP)
Calories 114 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Sodium 1mg0%
Potassium 86mg2%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 2g8%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 316IU6%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 36mg4%
Iron 0.6mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


To freeze pesto, I like to put a few tablespoons in each compartment of an ice cube tray. When they’re frozen I dump them in a larger container with a lid and store them in the freezer.

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Other Homemade Condiment Recipes:

How do you like basil pesto? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


10 responses to “Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe”

  1. Ken Price Avatar
    Ken Price

    5 stars
    Hello Katie. I read in the recipe intro about your grain-free diet and missing your pasta. Surely by now you must have tried some of the grain-free pastas made from brown rice? Trader Joe’s has one that we have been enjoying for years. BUT – then – one day on the car radio we were listening to a podcast from Bon Appetit, and they did a piece on a new grain-free pasta brand: Jovial. Their praise for the product was so effusive that we went out and bought some. It was a revelation. Better then ANY pasta we’ve ever bought for home use, including premium Italian brands made from semolina wheat. Try it, you won’t be sorry. The company’s back story is also very interesting: you can hear it on Guy Raz’ podcast, “How I Built This” on NPR. https://www.npr.org/series/490248027/how-i-built-this Just search for the “Jovial” episode. Note: I have no connection to the company – I’m just a big fan, along with my gluten-free wife.

  2. Christine Schindler Avatar
    Christine Schindler

    Store in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks in the fridge and ” ” months in the fridge. You left out the 9.

  3. amy Avatar

    Just a tip. If you use wild garlic mustard rather than basil, the pesto will not brown. Bonus…the root of the wild garlic mustard plant is a wild horseradish.

    1. Hilda M Smylie. Avatar
      Hilda M Smylie.

      It also doesn’t brown when topped with olive oil and it will stay in the refrigerator for several months. Just used some from last year for bruschetta.Spread the pesto on baguette rounds, top with tomato bruschetta and Feta cheese. Homemade bruschetta was made with chopped tomatoes, garlic, chopped basil and olive oil. Served at a coctail party and got lots of compliments.

  4. katie Avatar

    Is it two cups of packed basil or loose? Just leaves or stem as well?

  5. Marie Avatar

    Don’t forget potato gnocchi! The first time I had pesto, it was served with gnocchi in a little restaurant in Liguria. That first bite began a life long obsession.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I actually like freezing in ice cube trays and then dumping out into bags once frozen to keep in individual size portions..

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