pesto by the kosher foodies

Pesto is one of those things that are so easy to make I can’t believe people buy it. I mean, if you have a big enough freezer, a few batches of this with some summer basil will last you the entire year. I’m not saying no one should buy pesto, but if you have a blender or food processor, try making this. You might never go back to store-bought again. I adapted this recipe from Ina Garten. She makes hers with pine nuts (the traditional way) and walnuts. I use pistachios, since they’re my favorite nut and they’re already green. You can use whichever nut you prefer. Make sure to wash and dry your basil very well before making this! And use good quality olive oil. It really makes a big difference.

I always make my pesto pareve. If I want to make pesto sauce with a dairy meal, add the cheese afterwards.

One more tip: store these in 1 ounce cubes in your freezer. Defrost as needed. Some recipes will need just a pinch (pasta for one) and others a few cubes (some pesto pizza for the family), but either way you won’t be wasting some very precious pesto by defrosting too much from your quart-sized containers.

Pesto, adapted from Ina Garten:


  • 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled and peeled
  • 9 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups good olive oil


1. Place the pistachios in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process for 15-20 seconds, until roughly chopped.

2. Add basil leaves, garlic, salt, and pepper, and process until combined.

3. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil until the mixture is thoroughly pureed.

4. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper, as needed.

That’s it! You can serve it right away or freeze it, with plastic wrap directly on the surface (I use my awesome 1-ounce silicone ice cube trays)


  • Sarah Klinkowitz

    Basil and garlic are two of my favorite herbs, and I find that a fresh pesto on some rice (used to be pasta, subbed it for rice) is one of life’s simple pleasures.

  • Pesto is one of my favorite things. I have never made it with pistachios! I will have to try this variation soon!

  • Alexandra Athan

    yum!! so smart to store it as cubes using the ice tray! what’s ur fave good quality olive oil to use?

    • Jessica Blanco

      i always use extra virgin for non-cooked recipes.

  • When I did a semester abroad in England, I lived off of pesto! I haven’t had it in years. This has inspired me to try making it myself! Thanks!

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  • readytolearn

    when you defrost the cubes do you let it thaw completely before adding to a recipe? and if I serve it on past do I warm the pasta before adding pesto or with it?