Homemade Pesto with Summer Basil

Hillcrest South dietitian Stephanie Harris, MS, RD/LD shares her homemade pesto recipe with us today on the blog.

Every summer around this time of year, the basil plants in my garden are full of fragrant leaves and I love to make homemade pesto. Making pesto at the end of the summer and keeping it in the freezer is also a great way to use up the last of the basil from your garden so that you can enjoy it year round.  Below is a recipe for a lighter version of pesto that is featured in a summer salad perfect for lunch or light dinner entree!

Roasted Vegetable and Pesto Pasta Salad

Serves 4-6


·         2 cups whole wheat penne (or other whole wheat pasta of your choosing)

·         4 cups mixed vegetables, cut into pieces for roasting (Suggested: red pepper, mushroom, zucchini, and asparagus)

·         Olive oil, salt, and pepper, (Optional: red pepper flakes, garlic powder)*

·         1/4 cup pesto

Pesto Ingredients:

·         1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

·         1 clove garlic

·         1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

·         kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste

·         3 tbsp olive oil


1.     In a food processor pulse basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil while pulsing. (This can be made a day ahead to allow for longer marinating time and great flavor).  Store in a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to use or you can freeze to use at a later date.

2.    Preheat oven to 400.  Boil pasta according to directions.

3.    While pasta is cooking,  place vegetables in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with red pepper flakes*, garlic powder*, salt, and pepper.  Spread veggies on a large baking sheet and roast for about 20-25 minutes or until vegetables have softened and browned.

4.    Combined pasta, roasted vegetables, and toss with pesto sauce. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


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