Basil Parsley Pesto

April 20, 2016

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This Basil Parsley Pesto is easy to make and is a great way to use up all that basil in your garden! Enjoy this homemade pesto with your favorite pasta, with salmon or chicken, or on pizza. There are so many ways to enjoy this vibrant basil pesto! 

Basil Pesto in white bowl next to wedge of Parmesan and fresh basil leaves

Easy Basil Parsley Pesto Recipe

I’ve been eating pesto on everything lately! It’s one of the best ways to add bold, fresh flavors to an entree and it’s easy to make. If you haven’t tried making it at home yet, you haven’t lived yet!

The freshness of homemade basil pesto makes it so much better than store-bought, plus the fact that homemade uses extra-virgin olive oil vs. the canola oil many grocery store brands use.

This is the perfect pesto recipe if you just happen to be planting an herb garden with lots of basil in it this summer (we just planted our first garden — fingers crossed! We’ll see how it goes). This recipe does take about three fairly large bunches of basil to make.

Your best bet will be to use a kitchen scale to get the weight of the basil leaves right, because we all pack leaves into cups differently. I did add some parsley to this pesto, but if  you’d prefer you can just use more basil, which I also do on occasion. I do love the blend of the two herbs so usually if I have the parsley I’ll always add it in too.

If you’re looking to keep your pesto nice and vibrantly green you will need to boil the basil leaves for 5 seconds (fully submerged) then rest in ice water to halt the cooking process and drain (aka quickly blanch it).

This step is completely optional, if I’m not too concerned about the look of the pesto and I don’t care if it turns to a dingy-ish green I’ll skip this step on occasion, but it is just so nice to keep it in the fridge for a few days and go back to nice vibrantly green pesto.

Just keep in mind blanching removes a bit of the flavor. You can try it both ways and see if you think the blanching is worth it.

bunch of fresh basil in glass jar

Basil Parsely Pesto Ingredients

For this homemade basil pesto sauce, you’ll need:

  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh parsley
  • Pine nuts
  • Shredded Parmesan
  • Garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

homemade pesto ingredients in bowl of food processor

How to Make It

  • Add basil, parsley, Parmesan and garlic to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely minced.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

making homemade pesto in food processor

  • With processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil.
  • Scrape down the sides as needed, and pulse until pesto is smooth.

finished Basil Pesto in bowl of food processor

How to Freeze It

I can’t think of a better use for this homemade pesto then to make a bunch of it and freeze it to enjoy throughout the year. Come winter you’ll be so glad you did!

To freeze pesto, simply store it in an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze. When you’re ready to use the pesto, place it in the fridge to thaw slightly before scooping it out.

I’ve heard that you can also freeze pesto in an ice cube tray and store the frozen cubes in a freezer bag. Then you can pop one or two pesto cubes into your pasta and warm through that way. If you’ve tried this before, let me know!

My Favorite Pesto Uses

There are so many ways to use pesto! A few of my favorite pesto uses include:

Homemade Basil Pesto in white bowl

Tips for the Best Basil Parsley Pesto

  • Pine nuts are a traditional pesto ingredient, but if you don’t have any you can also use unsalted almonds or walnuts.
  • You can use toasted or raw pine nuts for this recipe.
  • If possible, use freshly grated Parmesan for this pesto recipe. It makes a big difference in flavor!

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5 from 2 votes

Basil Parsley Pesto

Perfect pesto every time! It's deliciously fresh and bright and incredibly flavorful.
Servings: 4
Prep15 minutes
Ready in: 15 minutes


  • 2 1/2 cups (55g) packed basil leaves*
  • 1 cup (packed, 30g) parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup (34g) pine nuts** (un-toasted or toasted)
  • 1/2 cup (35g) grated parmesan cheese***
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste


  • To a food processor add basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and garlic and process mixture until finely minced, while occasionally scraping down sides of processor. 
  • Add 1/2 olive oil and process until well pureed, occasionally scraping down the sides of processor. Thin with a little more oil if mixture is thick, season with salt to taste.
  • Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.


  • * In a pinch you can also stretch it by using 1/2 baby spinach in place of 1/2 of the basil the flavor just won't be as vibrant.
  • **If you'd like you can also toast the pine nuts in the oven or in a skillet for extra flavor if preferred.
  • ***I like to use a zester to grate the parmesan for fine delate shreds that blend well into the sauce.
How to Blanch Basil:
If you want to keep the pesto green, you'll need to blanch the basil first (this step is optional, it's only if you want it to stay nicely green). To do so, bring a large pot of water to a boil over moderately high heat and fill a medium bowl with ice and cold water.
Carefully transfer half of the basil to boiling water using a large wire sieve, then submerge and allow to boil for just 5 seconds. Immediately remove from boiling water and transfer to ice water.
Allow to rest for about 10 seconds, then transfer to paper towels to drain excess water (lightly dab water away, but don't squeeze dry). Repeat with remaining basil.
Nutrition Facts
Basil Parsley Pesto
Amount Per Serving
Calories 307 Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Fat 33g51%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 4mg1%
Sodium 103mg4%
Potassium 109mg3%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 1155IU23%
Vitamin C 7.7mg9%
Calcium 106mg11%
Iron 1.3mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

Recipe updated from archives. Originally shared July 22, 2013

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  • Patty McGuire

    Jaclyn, I’ve been taking pictures for forever, and the only calibration I’ve ever done is checking prints from my lab to my screen. Once I got those two items to match, which I did with old fashioned “eye balling,” I let it go. The bottom line is, your readers are likely not using calibrated monitors. So what does it matter if you’re calibrated and nobody else is? If they aren’t calibrated, it isn’t going to look like your screen. If you sold prints, I would suggest you match the output to your screen, but other than that…who cares? As long as it looks fine to you on your screen, I wouldn’t worry about it. It looks beautiful to me! I’m also on a mac, and I think that has a lot to do with good color rendition. A LOT of the younger photographers go on and on endlessly about calibration and blah, blah, blah. I personally think it’s money that doesn’t need to be spent. (unless you’re a wedding photographer selling expensive albums) I’d rather invest in a new lens or something. If you pull up the new images on the old laptop that is NOT calibrated, how does it look? That’s probably what your readers see. You cannot stress over that! You can only produce the work you know is good and let it go. Your work on this blog is just awesome!! You do a great job on the whole thing. If it makes you feel better to calibrate, then by all means go for it! I would be interested to see what, if any, difference it makes. You could also get a color card and always shoot that in your first frame. I always shoot a white piece of paper first frame. Then when I edit in LR, I just get that white to a true white and apply that color temperature across the shoot. Just my opinion, but you did ask. <3

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Thanks Patty for the info! I’d never heard of a color card so that’s good to know. And thanks for the compliments too!

      • Patty McGuire

        Hey Jaclyn! Here’s a link to the card you might find helpful.
        You should consider a gray card, too, if you really want to be a stickler for accuracy. I shoot a white piece of paper in the first frame and then when I pull the files into LR, I can use the white balance tool in there to make the white a true white. They, just apply the same white balance across the session as long as the lighting is similar. Change the light? Shoot a new frame with the white paper.

  • Abbie @ Needs Salt

    I love how perfectly green this pesto is!! It’s beautiful.
    I’ve been conspiring about making pesto recently… we’re growing a ton of basil in our garden and I love pesto. How long does it keep stored in the fridge?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Thanks Abbie! I think probably about 3-4 days in the refrigerator but you could freeze it for several months.

  • Susan

    Welcome to the world of Apple computers! I did the switch from an HP laptop to a MacBook Pro 4 years ago and have never looked back (my HP died a month later from a broken heart…) I think you’ll be really happy with the change.

    Your pesto recipe sounds wonderful. I’m looking forward to trying it.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Yeah so far I love it, the colors are so pretty and far better than what I’m used to :). I hope you love the pesto Susan!

  • Janet R

    No advice… just a compliment! That green is absolutely beautiful! Keep up the good work!

  • Jessica@AKitchenAddiction

    I love how vibrant your pesto is! Gorgeous!

  • Patricia @ ButterYum

    I’m so very glad you included gram weights in this recipe. LOVE that!!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Yeah basil is tricky – I’ve seen so many pesto recipes that say one or two bunches of basil and I’m thinking that can vary so widely giving people an entirely different end result, also people pack their cups a lot differently :).