Cheap and Easy Pesto Sauce (And Pizza) Recipe

I love pesto sauce, and since I had gotten a basil plant when we moved into the new place (we have a balcony now) I decided it was high time to actually use it. John suggested we use the sauce for pizza because he knows that pesto pizza is a favorite of mine. We made it last night and it was delicious!

I kind of ad libbed the recipe because pesto isn’t an exact science or anything. The pesto I ended up making was cheap because we left out the most expensive of the traditional ingredients – pine nuts – and it’s easy because you just throw it all in a blender and turn it on.

I originally had every intention of using pine nuts, but when we finally found some (our little Food Lion apparently isn’t posh enough) they were $9 for a small bag of them, which would have nearly doubled the price of dinner. We talked about using another nut as a substitute, but eventually decided to just do without. If you’d like to add pine nuts to this recipe, just throw in about 1/3 cup of them in the blender along with everything else. I apologize for the less than stellar backgrounds for the photos.


  • 4 cups of fresh basil leaves – make sure you press them down a bit when measuring them
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, depending on how garlicky you like your pesto
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese or a Parmesan blend (we used Trader Joe’s blend of Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago)

As I said before, making pesto isn’t an exact science, so feel free to adjust the ingredients to taste. If you prefer a thicker or thinner sauce, just use a little more or less olive oil.

Step 1

Throw it all in a blender.

Step 2

Turn on the blender.

And that’s it really – blend it until it’s a nice, pesto-y consistency. If you prefer chunkier pesto, you can use a food processor instead, but I like my pesto nice and creamy. At this point, you can use your pesto on pizza, pasta, sandwiches, etc. If you want to save it for later, just cover it, put it in the fridge, and make sure you mix it well when you take it out.

We took our pesto and spread it on a premade thin pizza crust from the store.

Then we topped it with mozzarella mixed with the cheese blend we used for the sauce, mushrooms, and turkey pepperoni.

We ended up with a delicious, though slightly overcooked (we need to have our oven recalibrated) pesto pizza. The pizza crust came two to a pack, so we have plenty of stuff for another pizza tonight. All of the ingredients that we bought (we grew the basil and already had olive oil and salt) cost about $12, which is pretty good for two nights’ worth of food for two. What do you like to put pesto sauce on?

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