Place the basil leaves in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the garlic and nuts. Add cheese, if using. Pulse 5-6 times. With the machine running, drizzle in 1/2 cup olive oil. Stop to scrape down the sides of the container Add the salt. Process to form a thick paste.

Transfer to a container If not using immediately, top the pesto with ¼-inch of extra­virgin olive oil and cover the container. Before using, pour off this layer of olive oil. The pesto will keep in the refrigerator for one week.


  • 2 cups (8 ounces leaves and stems) firmly packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, optional for dairy meals
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

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Recipe by Susie Fishbein