Cooking Techniques, Italian Cuisine, Recipe Substitutions

How to Make Pesto Without a Food Processor

Pesto is an all-time classic. Many say it will be textured and flavorful when done in a food processor, but you do not require fancy equipment to make pesto.

You just need a mortar and pestle to make pesto, just like it’s done traditionally. You can add ingredients of your choice. Do not stick with basil all the time. You can try baby spinach, mint, cilantro, kale, or celery. Basically, any herbs will give the best-flavored pesto.


Pesto, made traditionally, has loads of garlic, seeds, and herbs. Add all the ingredients and work the mortar and pestle. You can use the nuts of your choice, many prefer walnuts and pine nuts, but you can also use sunflower seeds or peanuts. These have vibrant colors, and the texture is literally everything you need for pasta. You can use them along with wraps and sandwiches too. The cheese makes it even more flavorful and soulful.

Pesto is native to Italy, but most of the pesto sauce you encounter anywhere is much different from the original. It is because of the difference in the ingredients and the methods of its preparation. For example, the pesto in Genoa is made from fresh garlic and basil, which are native to their specific region. The basil has more round-shaped leaves, much thicker than the usual ones. They also use specially prepared cheese. So obviously, it’s not surprising when pesto sauce tastes heavenly in Italy.

And many restaurants prefer to make it by chopping and grinding most ingredients using a knife. If you are looking for even textured pesto for your pasta, try the traditional hand chopping method. Follow the instructions and gather the ingredients mentioned below. This batch of pesto sauce can serve 4 to 6 plates of pasta, reduce or increase the quantities as per your requirement.

  • 2 large spoons of fresh herbs; you can use baby spinach and cilantro as a substitute for basil.
  • 6 to 7 garlic cloves ( use freshly peeled ones, not the canned and pickled ones)
  • 1 spoonful of nuts  (sunflower seeds, walnuts, or pine nuts will be the best choices, or even peanuts if you are not allergic to them)
  • 125 to 130ml oil  of your choice (olive or sunflower oil will taste the best )
  • 2 cubes of grated cheese ( Parmesan and Pecorino)
  • 1 small tablespoon of white wine
  • Salt and pepper as per your taste
  1. Take a fresh chopping board and make sure it is dry.
  2. Start peeling the garlic cloves and crush them down with a knife. Put the little crushed garlic cloves and put them into the mortar.
  3. Use the pestle and work out with it for a smooth smashed texture of garlic.
  4. Then add in the basil or the herbs and grind till it is a smooth paste.
  5. Add nuts and salt to taste and mix it up.
  6. Then add enough oil along with cheese and mix. Pecorino cheese is very important if you want that authentic Italian pesto.
  7. In the end, add white wine and pepper, add oil if it is not creamy, and mix.
  8. Use it fresh or freeze it for a week and use it every day.
See also  Do You Need To Grease And Spray Parchment Paper?

There are many best ways to use pesto sauce; you can make delicious pasta. This could be the best sauce substitute for pizza if you are out of pizza sauce. Add loads of mozzarella cheese on the top and enjoy. You can use it for grilling veggies and cottage cheese for amazing appetizers. If you are looking for breakfast options, try hash browns, baked potatoes, and pesto. Many love to add a nice dollop of pesto to omelets; this adds a lovely flavor to them.

You can store pesto sauce in freeze bags inside a freezer. This will keep it fresh for four days. Ensure you have enough oil left while you freeze it, so it will not spoil quickly.

Just scoop some frozen sauce and drizzle hot pasta water on it so it will be easy to mix in with gnocchi or other pasta. For extra fun, sprinkle some lemon zest on the top. This will make a perfect meal if you wanna impress someone.

Pesto sauce is the perfect deal for someone looking for a garlicky touch for their meal. Making pesto sauce is a little tricky, but once you master it, you will never buy it from a store. Add any herbs of your choice, and it’s gonna turn yum. Just check the oil content to get the perfect creamy pesto sauce.


Leave a Comment