Basil Pine Nut Pesto Sauce


A great pesto sauce pairs deliciously with so many different foods! Pour it over pasta (or zoodles), use as a base sauce for homemade pizza, add flavor to roasted vegetables, pour over grilled chicken, pork chops or pork tenderloin, use in The Midwest Skinny Pesto Chicken Tacos. The list is endless!




The night I made Pesto, we decided to have a hodgepodge of menu items to go with it! I made Spinach & Wheat Fettuccini Noodles to go with either The Midwest Skinny Marinara Sauce or the Pesto Sauce (or a mixture of both, yum!).


I also made a large salad with shaved Cauliflower, Red Cabbage, Onions, spiced Pecans and Pears. My papa (grill master) grilled the Organic Chicken Tenders, and I sautéed a pan of Portobello Mushrooms.


I added the grilled chicken to my salad, and drizzled the pesto sauce over it. The boys loved mixing together the pesto and marinara sauces over the noodles and adding mushrooms & chicken.


pesto dinner

pesto dinner2


We picked the Basil fresh from our Garden (over the summer! These winter days, you’ll have to make a trip to Kroger…. twist my arm! That’s my favorite place to be).


Basil in garden


Griff’s strong muscles helped me “bruise” the basil before adding it to the food processor. Bruising it first helps release more of the flavor!


griff smashing basil


In trying to find a great pesto sauce recipe, all I could find were ones loaded with cheese and oil, or lacking in flavor. So after much trial and error, I came up with this recipe. I hope you like it! Feel free to add the cheese if your heart desires!


Pine Nut Pesto


  • 2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves (packed)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/3 cup Pine Nuts, toasted (You can use walnut, cashews or almonds here instead)
  • 1/2 large Lemon, juice only
  • 1/2 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (I started with 1/4 C. and added more until I got the consistency I wanted)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese (*Optional! I did not add)


  1. Begin by lightly toasting the pine nuts in a skillet over medium low heat for 2-3 minutes (until golden brown). Do not burn!
  2. Add the basil leaves to a ziplock bag and "bruise" them using a rolling pin.
  3. Combine the Basil, Garlic, and Pine Nuts in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  4. Add 1/4 C. of the Olive Oil and juice of 1/2 a Lemon and process for 30 seconds.
  5. Then add another 1/4 C. Olive Oil and pulse until a smooth consistency. (Add more Olive Oil if you would like it smoother). Pulse in the Salt and Pepper; and Parmesan (optional!).
  6. Empty contents in a serving dish. Pour over pasta noodles/zucchini noodles; use as a pizza sauce; use for dipping sauce with grilled chicken or pork.

Chicken Pesto Tacos

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