Making Mealtime Meaningful: See How We’re Giving Back with the New 12 Tomatoes Cares Program →

Traditional pesto, the basil-infused sauce that originates from Italy’s Ligurian coast, is always delicious. The flavor is so full and intense, it’s hard to imagine a variation on it.

If you’re prone to kitchen experiments, however, you’ll want to try this lighter, lemony twist. Pair it with good pasta, or layer it onto grilled chicken or fish and enjoy!

Basil-Lemon Pesto

(makes about 1 1/2 cups)


  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 Tbs. toasted pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:1. Toast pine nuts on a baking sheet at 350∞F in the oven until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

2. In a food processor, combine the garlic, pine nuts, basil, parsley, cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice. Pulse until ground to a fine paste, about 1 minute.

3. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper.

Adapted fromWilliams-Sonoma.

Subscribe to 12 Tomatoes