Fresh basil, Parmesan & pine nuts



Serves Serves 4
Time Cooks In5 minutes
DifficultySuper easy
Nutrition per serving Plus
  • Calories 97 5%
  • Fat 8.8g 13%
  • Saturates 1.6g 8%
  • Sugars 0.2g 0%
  • Salt 0.6g 10%
  • Protein 3.5g 7%
  • Carbs 0.8g 0%
  • Fibre 0.1g -
Of an adult's reference intake
recipe adapted from

Jamie's Dinners

By Jamie Oliver
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  • ½ a clove garlic
  • 1 big bunch of fresh basil
  • 1 handful of pine nuts
  • 1 good handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon , optional
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recipe adapted from

Jamie's Dinners

By Jamie Oliver
Tap For Ingredients


  1. Peel the garlic, then pound in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of sea salt.
  2. Pick, roughly chop and add the basil leaves, then bash to a paste (or pulse in a food processor).
  3. Add the pine nuts (very lightly toast first, if you like) to the mixture and pound again, then stir in half the Parmesan.
  4. Drizzle in some oil – you need just enough to bind the sauce and get it to an oozy consistency.
  5. Add most of the remaining cheese, then season to perfection with salt and black pepper. Have a taste, and keep adding a bit more cheese or oil until you are happy with the taste and consistency.
  6. Add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end to give it a little twang, if you like, but it’s not essential.


You may think it’s nice to toast the pine nuts until they’re golden, to give them a nutty taste, but the really good pestos I’ve tasted in Italy just have them very lightly toasted, to give a creaminess rather than a nuttiness.


Is pesto healthy?

Pesto is high in fat because it contains olive oil, nuts and a small amount of cheese, however if used in the right amount, it can form part of a healthy and balanced meal. Keep an eye out for added salt in the shop bought versions, and make use of the nutrition label on the front of the pack. If making pesto from scratch, it's much easier to control the amount of salt you add.

How can I use pesto?

There are so many ways to use pesto! Dress pasta and vegetables, drizzle it over cooked chicken and fish, or use it to flavour salad dressings. It's such a versatile ingredient to have to hand.

Can pesto be made without nuts?

Yes! Simply replace the nuts with seeds.
recipe adapted from

Jamie's Dinners

By Jamie Oliver