Lemon-Basil Pesto

September 18, 2013

I was going to start off this post by saying that I can’t believe I have never posted a pesto recipe. But, after a quick search of my site, I discovered that would have been a lie. Oops! Blame it on pregnancy brain?

I think I have just done so many different types of pesto that when thinking about plain old basil pesto, I thought there was no way I had just done the original. Pesto is the food equivalent of saying you’re wearing a t-shirt and jeans. There are so many variations of a tee and jeans and then throw in accessories and you can have a million different looks.

I remember this pair of jeans I had in college, back in the Abercrombie and Fitch days. They were so soft and fit just right. But, as my freshman mono weight loss slowly caught back up with me thanks to all the beer I was consuming, these jeans got a little more snug. The naturally occurring rip in the knee was now almost at the seams. I had a feeling it was time to ditch them, but I stupidly ignored my gut. (Literally and figuratively).

It wasn’t until one morning; I was up early for my 7am ecology lab. I was hustling around my sorority house room, which I shared with three friends, trying to be quiet as not to wake anybody. The last thing I needed to grab was my crappy running shoes out from under my bed.

As I bent down to get my shoes, I felt the jeans could move or stretch no more. I grabbed my shoes out with the tips of my index fingers and breathed a sigh of relief. On my way up, the jeans fought back and my knee rip tore all the way to the seams, then since I could not bend or barely move my legs at all, I fell into the desk next to my bed and knocked everything off.

Yep, those jeans were a lost cause after that. I bit the bullet and got another pair with a little more stretch to them just in case.

But don’t worry. This pesto won’t turn on you like my stupid jeans did. It is a classic. It goes well with any kind of pasta or salad or even over some chicken. This is the time of year to harvest up all that fresh basil and store up some pesto for the winter.

Lemon-Basil Pesto

Course Sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Author Sarcastic Cooking


  • 3 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves roughly chopped
  • Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon
  • ¼ Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 1 Tablespoon Grated Parmesan
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • ¼ - ½ Cup Olive Oil


  1. Add basil, lemon zest, lemon juice, walnuts, parmesan, salt, and pepper to a food processor. Pulse a few times until the nuts and basil are all chopped to about the same size.
  2. Drizzle in the olive oil and puree until smooth. Add less olive oil if you like a thicker pesto or add more if you like a thinner pesto.
  3. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for two weeks or freeze for up to two months.

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  • Kayle (The Cooking Actress)
    September 19, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Oh noooo! Poor jeans. They sounded awesome. *le sigh* This pesto sounds super awesome too, I looove a good pesto!

  • Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out
    September 18, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Been there, done that on the favorite jeans. Don’t worry…knee rips are totally the “in” thing right now anyway, right? HA. Not when they practically wrap all the way around your leg. Aaaanyway…yes. PESTO. I could eat the stuff with a spoon.

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    September 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    I hate to admit this, but I’ve never made homemade pesto! Totes cray, and something that I need to change! This sounds like a fantastic recipe.

  • Susan
    September 18, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Pesto all the things! Lemon basil is my favorite for standard basil pesto. Also you story reminds me of the time that I was getting into the car with my mom and all of a sudden I felt a cool breeze on my behind. Yup, ripped the back of my favorite jeans. We were still running errands and I refused to get out of the car until we were home. This was of course pre-smart phone, so you can imagine my boredom.

  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough
    September 18, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Mmmm, this dish looks so flavorful and refreshing! I totally want to make it this weekend with chicken.

    Also, your jeans story… FAVE. I’m currently working a hole near the back pocket of my favorite pair but I am definitely wearing them up until the moment it happens, I love them so. And let’s be real: I might even wear them afterward.

  • Sophia @ NY Foodgasm
    September 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    I made a lemon pesto very similar to this a month ago. I love how the lemon just brightens the whole thing up!

  • Julia
    September 18, 2013 at 9:32 am

    I love the lemon in this dish! Great idea. I have been craving so much pasta with this baby…no so good for the hips but man is it good!