Roasted Garlic Basil Pesto

  • Author: Natalie
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 3/4 - 1 cup
  • Category: BLD, Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast
  • Cuisine: Italian


This Roasted Garlic Basil Pesto is the condiment of your dreams!! Serve it with pasta, spread it on pizza, slather it on toasted bread, mix into mayo to jazz up you BLT, so many options! Keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or make a double batch and freeze for up to 6 months.


  • 2 cups basil leaves, packed
  • 1 whole head garlic, roasted
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts*, toasted
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) + more for roasting garlic
  • Salt & pepper


For the Roasted Garlic:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut a medium piece of tin foil (big enough to completely wrap the garlic), set aside.
  3. Carefully cut off the top part of the head of garlic so all the cloves are exposed. Place the head of garlic on the piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Wrap the garlic tightly with foil and place in the oven for 40-50 minutes. All the ovens vary in cooking time so start checking it at 40 minutes. You want the garlic to be caramelized and very tender (step by step images are in my post).
  5. Once the garlic is done, set aside and let cool until you can handle it with your hands.
  6. Squeeze out all the cloves and it’s ready to use.

The toasted pine nuts:

  1. Heat a small pan over medium heat.
  2. Add 1/3 cup of pine nuts and toast for about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Make sure to move them around the pan a lot and  keep a close eye on them as they can burn quickly.
  4. Once they are done, set aside to cool completely.

The Pesto:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, add the basil leaves and pulse a few times.
  2. Add the pine nuts and pulse again until the pine nuts and basil are finely chopped.
  3. Add the roasted garlic and the grated parmigiano cheese. Pulse again to mix everything together.
  4. With the food processor on, stream in 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.
  5. Remove blade, transfer to a bowl and adjust seasoning to taste. I added about 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
  6. You can store the pesto in the fridge in a jar with a thin layer of olive oil on top (to help the bright green colour last) for about 2 weeks and up to six months in the freezer. If you are going to freeze it, I suggest using a ice cube tray. Once the pesto is frozen, pop out the cubes and store in a Ziploc bag.


*If you don’t have pine nuts, you could swap for walnuts or pistachios.
**If you don’t have a food processor, a blender will work.

Keywords: basil, pesto, roasted garlic