An Abundance of Fresh Basil??? PESTO TIME!

It's warm and sunny and spring is finally HERE! Woohoo!! 

I've been growing a bunch of herbs and some tomatoes in my window for a few months now (I started from seeds so it's taken a little time!) and now we are finally reaping the benefits of this labor of love. 

I love to use pesto in my cooking, whether I'm putting it on veggies to roast them, or over fish, or sometimes just adding extra oil and vinegar to it and using it as a salad dressing! There's something so satisfying about using fresh herbs with your food, it just tastes SO GOOD, and it makes me even happier knowing I got to grow it myself and enjoy it's beauty in my window until it came time to devour it. 

I based my recipe off of this one: Ina Garten's Homemade Pesto (because Ina Garden is amazing... of course!) but I left the walnuts out this time around. I had some, and they were rancid... so no walnuts in this pesto. It still turned out great. 

This recipe DOES have parmesan cheese, but you could *easily* make some with no cheese. In fact, my local Whole Foods carries a Gotham Greens brand that makes an awesome vegan pesto, right out of Brooklyn! So if you're local, and not into making your own, go grab that one! It's delicious. 

Scroll down for the recipe... or watch my fun little video "how to" 

Fresh Pesto


1/2 cup pine nuts 

3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)

4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

1 tablespoon lemon zest (optional)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/3 cups good olive oil

1 cup (?) freshly grated Parmesan cheese **I honestly don't know how much I used here... 


  1. Bring water to a boil on the stovetop and quickly (30 seconds) blanche your basil in the water, placing it immediately into an ice water bath afterwards. This will help your basil stay bright green and beautiful. **You can skip this step and it will taste equally delicious. 
  2. Place the pine nuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 seconds. Add the optional lemon zest. 
  3. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper.
  4. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is finely pureed.
  5. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Serve, or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

Nutrition Information from

Serving Size: about 3/4 cup Pesto, I split my recipe into 4 small containers.

Protein: 12g

Carbs: 5g

Fat: 88g

Total Calories: 832 cals

About Ashley:

Ashley is a Pilates instructor and entrepreneur in NYC who specializes in biomechanics and exercise nutrition for women. She uses the science behind exercise physiology to empower her clients to lead healthy, happy lives. Her passion project is writing “The LEAN Life Newsletter” which goes out every Tuesday and focuses on Lifestyle, Exercise, Active recovery, and Nutrition and serves as the backbone for her L.E.A.N. Life online health and fitness programs. She aims to get this information into the hands of as many women as possible so they can feel stronger and more confident in their bodies. For more information head to or @AshleyBrownPilates on instagram, or click here to get on the L.E.A.N. Life List! 

Ashley Brown