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Basil Pesto

A versatile and flavourful addition to pasta, meat, soup and salads.

  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x


  • 300 g fresh basil
  • 200 g pine nuts
  • 100 g parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) minced garlic
  • 2 tsp (10 g) kosher salt
  • 1/3 c (70 ml) good quality extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Thoroughly wash and spin-dry the leaves before weighing them.
  2. Add about 1/3 of the basil to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Add another third and repeat. Add the pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic and salt and pulse until combined. Add the final third of basil, and drizzling the olive oil through the spout, pulse until the entire mixture is finely and thoroughly chopped.
  3. Using a spatula, scrape the basil into an ice-cube tray, smoothing as you go. Once all the basil is in the tray, push a knife down each side of each cube to release any air pockets and smooth again with the spatula.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
  5. Once completely frozen, dip the outside of the ice cube tray into hot water to release the pesto cubes. Pop them out and transfer them to a large ziplock bag before returning them to the freezer. You’ll need to work quickly as they defrost really easily.


  • I work under the premise that neither parmesan cheese or olive oil improve by freezing, and thus use just enough to bind the basil together. Add as much parmesan cheese and olive oil as you see fit when you use it. It’s also light on salt, as you can always add, but can’t subtract, so season at will!
  • This recipe makes one full ice cube tray, or 12 cubes.
  • Author: Helen Kain
  • Prep Time: 30