Pesto is a brilliantly flavourful sauce.  I have not met many herbs I didn’t like. And basil is one of my favourites. I put basil in everything I can! (Try adding it to your Caesar salad.)   I make full batches of this sauce and freeze it in cubes. Work once, and reap over and over. Pop a cube out toss over sautéed veggies, or you can thaw in advance and put over chicken.  I’ve been known to forget to take these out in advance so I chuck them in a mason jar and sit the jar in hot water to thaw.


Nutritional yeast is a vegan substitute for cheese.  It is a “deactivated yeast” meaning it has been cooked and is no longer “yeast like” for those avoiding yeasts.  This ingredient has been around forever and is specifically grown and cultivated so it can be heated and used for this reason.  Nutritional yeast is a source of vitamin B.  If you’re going to consume nutritional yeast, just be sure it is a good trusted brand that doesn’t have any additives, and like everything, eat in moderation. In traditional pesto they sometimes add Parmesan cheese. I personally like it better without the cheese flavour because I am in love with basil (and cilantro, and thyme and sage 🙂  ) .


  • 3.5 – 4 cups washed basil leaves – stems removed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional- adds a cheesy flavour)
  • salt and pepper to taste

I buy my raw organic pine nuts at Costco, because they are cheaper there than anywhere else I’ve seen. Be careful when toasting any nut (or spices) in a skillet because they can go from lovely aromatic and golden to black burnt waste of money in a matter of a minute.  So watch your nuts!
I’ve seen reputable sources say you can toast your nuts in a microwave and I cringe!  Using a sauté pan only takes a couple of minutes people and kicks the flavour profile into full gear.  I find it hard to believe a microwave can do the same thing.  (Boo microwave.)


Warm the skillet to almost medium and toss in your pine nuts. No oil needed, just dry pine nuts. Toss or stir every 30 seconds or so and watch them like a hawk! The whole process should take around 5 minutes. You will know when they are done when they start to turn brown (as opposed to the blonde colour you started with).  They might not all be the same colour, but as long as most of them are browned, you’re good.  Remove from heat and set aside.
You don’t want to add hot pine nuts to your delicate basil. Try and cool to room temp before mixing the two.
— Fun tip. The nights that I make pesto, I make zucchini noodles and use this same pan to cook the noodles. I do this for extra flavour and for the less dishes – win!

Pesto with Zucchini Noodles


Wash and remove the stems from your basil.
Add basil, garlic, cooled pine nuts, salt and pepper in the blender. I add ¼ cup of olive oil to the blender at this time, just to lubricate everything so it can blend together.  I then stream the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil into the blender.
I suggest that you taste now before adding the nutritional yeast (if you’re using it).  You might not need the extra cheese flavour. If you are using nutritional yeast, add it and give it a quick wiz in the blender just to incorporate it.

I freeze the pesto in silicon ice cube trays and store in a vacuum bag, opening and resealing as I need them.

Pesto Frozen