Fresh Herb Pesto


Preparation info

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By Todd Porter

Published 2013

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The transition from late spring to early summer is when our herbs explode with fragrant, tender leaves. Gathering herbs at this time of year is always a treat because the oils and soft stems are at their peak, and that means making pesto of all different kinds. Basil pesto is always a favorite, but other herbs, such as thyme, mint, tarragon, and even arugula, prove to be wonderful variations as well. Consider mixing up your own unique batch of pesto with various herbs and nuts, including walnuts, peanuts, and cashews.


  • ¼ cup (34g) pine nuts
  • 15 walnut halves, or ¼ cup (25g) nuts of your choice
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 4 cups (100g) fresh basil leaves, or herb leaves of your choice
  • 2 cups (200g) freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) extra-virgin olive oil



  1. In a food processor, combine the pine nuts, walnut halves, peppercorns, and garlic. Pulse a few times to break up and combine the ingredients.
  2. Add the basil, Parmesan, lemon juice, salt, and ½ cup (120ml) of the oil to the food processor and process until very fine.
  3. Gradually add the remaining oil, to taste, pulsing until smooth (you may not need the full amount of oil, depending on your preferred texture for the pesto).