Homemade Pesto from the Garden

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on July 6, 2009

Learn how to make Homemade Pesto from the garden with this simple recipe:

1/3 cup pine nuts
Handful of mint leaves
Several handfuls of basil leaves
Handful of spinach leaves
2 garlic cloves
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

**Sorry I didn’t take exact measurements, as I just used what I had picked and added enough olive oil to reach the consistency I wanted.


homemade pesto1

1. Add pine nuts and mint in the food processor.

homemade pesto2

2. Fill the food processor with basil leaves.  Then pulse a few times before adding a handful of spinach.  Add olive oil until it reached the consistency I wanted plus about 1 tsp salt and a few dashes of pepper.  Pulse until reaches the consistency you wish.  Use immediately or freeze for use in future meal.

homemade pesto3

Because I didn’t use it right away, I froze it in 2 portions…one I plan to use for a chicken pesto recipe, and the other with pasta!
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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Tiff July 6, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Seriously, I could gobbled this stuff down by spoonfuls. The mint sounds refreshing. Do you toast your pine nuts?


Kim July 6, 2009 at 12:49 pm

I never realize how much I love pesto until I made it with part spinach (instead of all basil). I always thought it was too strong. But yours with mint in addition I think would be even better! And I never thought of making it without the parmesan, but it certainly would cost less and even be healthier. Thanks for the idea!

Dr.Kim from FamilyNatural.com


Danielle July 6, 2009 at 1:30 pm

That looks so great! We have never had pesto in a meal before. I am going to have to try it!


Mary W July 6, 2009 at 3:07 pm

I freeze pesto as well. I primarily freeze in small amounts to add to soup, pizza, etc. later in the year. For that I use a muffin tin. Put muffin liners in the tin and a couple of spoons of pesto. After it’s frozen take the pesto and paper liners out and freeze in a freezer bag or container. Take out as many (or few) as you need later.

I notice you didn’t add parmesan cheese. Is there a particular reason? Cheaper? Or do you add later?


dawn July 6, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Oh Mary, that’s a great idea (the muffin liners)!!!! i made a bunch last year & i think i liked it better in march than i did fresh! someone posted a chicken-pesto quesadilla — such a simple idea — completely addictive! i’ll have to plant some spinach now, just to try this out. d’you think it’d be just as good w/ walnuts instead?


LuAnn July 7, 2009 at 2:28 am

Hubby LOVES pesto!


Angela July 11, 2009 at 11:37 am

I make a pesto with these same ingredients, and it is absolutely DELICIOUS! I add a little parmesan in mine if I have it, and either use it over chicken, pasta, or shrimp/salmon. It is absolutely delicious in summer with seafood or shellfish. Very light and simple. Of course, living on the coast we get cheap fresh seafood, so it’s easier to make a $5 dinner from seafood down here :) Even my 19 month old loves pesto!


Ellen July 28, 2009 at 11:43 am

Pine nuts are not cheap. Can you substitute ?


Kelly August 24, 2011 at 3:49 pm

I made this and found a stash in the freezer so I mixed it with diced, grilled chicken, and put it on low carb tortillas with tomatoes and regular greek yogurt. So good!


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom August 25, 2011 at 8:25 pm

That sounds divine Kelly!!!


Lynn September 3, 2011 at 9:32 pm

I really want to make my own pesto! I will have to try your recipe. My kids gobble down a dish that I make with pesto in it. Chicken with bow tie pasta and diced tomatoes and pesto. Yum!! It will be cheaper if I make it myself!


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