Perfect Pesto Fresh from the Garden

Ann Dunaway Teh
My one successful garden year
My one successful garden year

We are in the height of summer, so it is only natural that this month’s Recipe Redux theme features our favorite recipes from fresh produce purchased at a farmer’s market, CSA or even fresh from the garden in our own yards.  I have dabbled in gardening. When I first started I had great success with tomatoes, okra, spaghetti squash and of course lots of herbs as well. After that first year, though, I never had quite the same luck again. Admittedly I don’t have the greenest of thumbs.

Pictures of my fruits I grow in my yard
My fig trees, family picking blueberries and Asian pear blooms

So lately I’ve  stuck with primarily herbs and of course  my fruit trees and bushes. I have a monster rosemary bush that will never die. My blueberry bushes and fig trees are prolific. The squirrels seem to get all of the Asian pears however (and possibly a giraffe in the neighborhood -no trace of the highest pears ever remain). I used to have Thai basil growing rampant around my yard, but the past few years it  hasn’t returned, which is sad because I was rather fond of this Thai Basil Peanut Pesto.   I used my blueberries in last month’s Blueberry Lemon Meringue Pie. And fig preserves are something I make every summer, and often share with others.

Picking out veggies at the farmers market

We also enjoy going to our local farmer’s market. I’ve had fun with my children picking out new vegetables to try. My son is actually good about trying what he picks out, though I’m still working on that with my little girl. Involving children in picking out foods, especially vegetables, really can open them up to trying them over time.  On the particular trip pictured above, I took the veggies my son picked out and made this Slow Cooker Thai Chicken and Vegetable Curry

Collage of some of our favorite fresh from the garden recipes
Thai Basil Peanut Pesto, Blueberry Lemon Meringue Pie, Fig Preserves and Slow Cooker Thai Chicken and Vegetable Curry

Lesley has better luck with her own garden where she grows tomatoes, cucumbers and lots of herbs that we feature in many of our recipes and food photography (yet  so far has evaded capture on camera). We are hoping to grow fresh herbs off season too with an indoor planter (let us know if you  have a particular one that works well – we need to start researching that soon!) 

Every year, she makes large batches of the best pesto, appropriately named Oh So Perfect Pesto Sauce! (And I do know this first hand as I’ve been the recipient of precious jars before and I consider myself a pesto connoisseur – it is one of my favorite condiments.)

Shrimp and Pea Pesto Pasta

Lesley’s pesto has appeared in some of our recipes, like Shrimp and Pea Pesto Pasta. If you don’t have a bountiful plant at home, you can always pick up a bunch of basil at your local supermarket or farmer’s market to make your own. 

This is an amazing pesto recipe and great for using up any fresh basil in the garden.

Oh So Perfect Pesto Sauce

Lesley grows tons of basil in the summer and makes jars and jars of pesto every fall from the basil in her summer garden. Her family cannot get enough of it! This recipe is our favorite and you will never want to buy store bought pesto again! This recipe freezes well for up to 6 months.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Dips and Sauces
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 12 2-tbsp
Calories 233 kcal


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup Parmesan-Romano cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 dash nutmeg


  • Blend the basil, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and nutmeg in a blender or food processor until smooth. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.


Chef's Note: Use another nut such as almonds in place of the pine nuts for a different spin on this easy pesto recipe. 


Calories: 233kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 5gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 367mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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