Who would ever guess that basil is a member of the mint family? Mostly eaten as a tomato and mozzarella enhancing herb, its medicinal qualities abound. Purported to be an anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and antibacterial culinary supplement, it certainly sounds like something truly good for you. A bit against the grain as far as pestos go, this nut free version is perfect for prolific garden basil bunches. Serve slathered on grilled bread, drizzled over roasted vegetables, stirred into pasta, or baked with eggs. This dish is summer at its peak.

Make in summer when basil is at its peak and freeze for year round use. 


cuisine American
difficulty Simple
makes 1 cup
season Summer


  • 2 cups densely packed basil leaves, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup densely packed spinach leaves, stems removed
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup ground pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup ground Parmesan Reggiano cheese


  1. Put the basil, spinach, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse twice.
  2. Begin slowly adding the olive oil through the feed tube and pulse until the basil mixture reaches the desired consistency.
  3. Place in a glass container with a lid, season with salt and pepper, and stir in the cheeses. Taste for seasoning, stir in a bit more olive oil if the pesto is too thick or too dry.
  4. Finish with a thin layer of olive oil over the top, cover, and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Keeps one week in the refrigerator, or six months in the freezer.