Pesto Sauce With Extra Virgin Olive Oil

It comes as no surprise that there are thousands of basil pesto recipes out there which are great with Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil but we had to pick a favourite – so we did, and here it is!

This wonderful insight from Loveandlemons sets you up with the classic recipe for basic basil pesto with the added bonus of lots of great ideas for variations and taste alternatives. 

Because pesto is such a strong sauce, anything you do to reduce its pungency just a little and steer it toward a sweeter, rounder-flavored sauce will help. That includes selecting a good, extra virgin olive oil; using Pecorino Sardo cheese instead of Romano; and not toasting the pine nuts.

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Basil Pesto Recipe With Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more for a smoother pesto
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, optional

Variation: replace the basil with

  • Mint
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Spinach

Variation: replace half the basil with:

  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1 cup cubed raw zucchini
  • 4 artichoke hearts
  • 1 roasted red pepper
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1/2 cup kale stems, boil until soft

Variation: replace the pine nuts with:

  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Pepitas
  • Hemp Seeds

Variation: for something extra, add:

  • Nutritional yeast, in place of the parmesan
  • Pinches of red pepper flakes
  • 1 charred jalapeño
  • 2 to 4 sun dried tomatoes
  • Splash of honey or maple syrup, if your pesto is too sharp


  1. Lets get started on our basil pesto recipe. In a food processor, combine the pine nuts, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and pulse until well chopped.
  2. Add the basil and pulse until combined.
  3. With the food processor running, drizzle in the Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil and pulse until combined. Add the parmesan cheese, if using, and pulse to briefly combine. For a smoother pesto, add more olive oil.

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