Pesto Sauce Recipe
Made with a Marble Mortar and Pestle

A pesto sauce recipe is fun and easy once you learn how to make pesto. And you can make a traditional recipe or a non-traditional pesto recipe.

By using a marble mortar and pestle, you can release more flavor and give yourself a better tasting pesto sauce recipe to enjoy on your freshly made pasta or use as a topping for pizza.

Marble Mortar and Pestle

A marble mortar and pestle has be used for centuries and may actually be the original food processor.

It's great for grinding, pounding, and mashing up just about anything that will fit into its base.

This old fashioned "technology" will help your spices and herbs taste much better because the aromas don't get burned off by excessive heat.

A mortar and pestle can also be made from stainless steel, ceramic, wood, porcelain, granite, and lava stone.  However, a marble mortar and pestle is probably the favorite for all around use.

It's a very hard stone which helps it resist absorption of odors and moisture.  Another reason a marble mortar and pestle is so popular - its substantial weight which makes it easier to grind up hard foods such as nuts.

However, most people seem to opt for the food processor or high speed blender for convenience. Its basically up to you - do you want more taste or more speed?

How to Make Pesto - Basic Pesto Sauce Recipe


  • 2 Big Handfuls of Fragrant Basil Leaves (rinsed & dried)
  • 1 Garlic Clove (peeled & chopped)
  • Sea Salt (pinch)
  • 1/4 cup Italian or Spanish Pine Nuts
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese (finely grated)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Pecorino Romano Cheese (finely grated)
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. of Italian Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Once your learn how to make a basic pesto recipe, you can then experiment with other nuts, leafy greens, and oils to create a uniquely flavored pesto sauce.


First mash the garlic in your mortar and pestle.  Then mash the basil one handful at a time to release its juices.

Add a pinch of salt to help the grinding process.  Then add in the pine nuts and mash to release its oil.

Next grind in the cheese and add in the olive oil to help thin the pesto.

Use your freshly made pesto sauce right away on pasta, etc. 

Or put your pesto in a glass jar and top with olive oil to seal the pesto which helps to prevent browning.  Store in your refrigerator.

Pesto Sauce Recipe - Macadamia Nut Pesto


  • 2 cups Organic Basil Leaves (cleaned & tightly packed)
  • 4 to 6 Organic Garlic Cloves (peeled)
  • Sea Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • 3/4 cup Roasted Macadamia Nuts (pieces)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese (grated)
  • Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Macadamia Nut Oil (to thin pesto)
  • Juice of 1 Organic Lemon & a little Water


Mash and grind the ingredients in a mortar and pestle to make this macadamia pesto sauce.

I use to buy macadamia nut pesto from a farmer's market in Hawaii (which has a lot of macadamia nut trees).

It was delicious!

You could also use macadamia nuts with a really tasty organic olive oil as well.

Pesto Sauce Recipe - Nut Free Pesto Recipe


  • Fresh Organic Basil Leaves (washed & spun)
  • "Real" Italian Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • Minced Organic Garlic Paste
  • Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese (grated)
  • Sea Salt (to taste)

You can add ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until the desired consistency.

You can also omit the salt if you want a lower in salt pesto. 

Most hard cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano have an adequate amount of salt added.

How to Freeze Pesto Sauce


Fill each compartment of an ice cube tray with 1 Tbsp. of your pesto sauce - then freeze.

Once pesto is frozen, remove the pesto cubes from the ice cube tray and place in freezer bags or in freezer-proof containers.

Pesto should keep in your freezer for months.

This is something you might want to do if you end up with a ton of basil leaves from your bountiful garden.  And this way, you'll always have some pesto sauce on hand.

Pesto Sauce Recipe - Vegan (Oil Free) Pesto Recipe


  • 2 Big Handfuls Freshly Picked Basil Leaves
  • 2 Sm or 1 Lg Organic Garlic Clove (peeled)
  • 1/4 cup Organic Pine Nuts
  • Optional:  2 to 3 Tbsp. Organic Nutritional Yeast
  • Big Pinch Herbamare (sea salt with herbs, spices, & vegetables)

Tip:  Right after you pick your basil, put it in ice water to minimize any bitterness.


Add the ingredients to your high speed blender and blend until a smooth consistency.

A vegan pesto recipe omits the cheese, but that doesn't mean that it won't taste any less spectacular.

You can use other nuts to make a vegan pesto recipe such as walnuts or macadamia nuts.

And you can even use sunflower seeds if you like.

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