What Is Pesto?

You have probably seen different varieties of pesto whether on sandwiches or in a pasta mix but what are the actual contents of the pesto?

What Is Pesto?

It originates from Italy where they crush the different ingredients together to create the paste. 

In this guide you can find out exactly what is in pesto, the different types you are able to either make or buy and also the best food to put with it!  

What Is In Pesto?

You will mostly likely recognise pesto as being a very bright green paste that is usually added to pasta or sandwiches to add that extra flavor.

If you are looking at making your own pesto paste you will be crushing up each of the ingredients and combining them together. 


  • Basil
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Pine nuts

You don’t need to use these exact ingredients and you can swap them out for similar, maybe less expensive options.

You can also add some extra ingredients for extra nutrients such as spinach. You can add basically anything you like if you’re looking to make your own concoction.

Avocado is usually quite a popular choice to add for the texture of the paste. 

How Can You Use Pesto? 

There are several different ways you can use pesto in your recipes as an uncooked sauce. The most obvious way is to mix it in with your pasta dishes.

This is a very popular option because it is common in Italy to use it this way. It gives the pasta a lovely, fresh flavor with the gooey melting cheese adding the extra hot goodness. 

It is also very popular to add your vegetables to some pesto to cook them in. Cooking your veg with more flavor is a much better option because it gives them that extra taste when cooked. 

Another way you can use pesto is on a pizza. Everyone loves a good pizza (Check Out Stromboli here)and you can use your homemade pesto as your sauce to spice up the pizza base.

It can also be used over your salads too to add flavor and in any wrap. 

How Long Does It Last When Made?

If you’re looking to make your own pesto sauce, you are looking at being able to keep it in your fridge for about 5 days.

You will be able to tell when it is no longer edible due to the smell or signs of mold.

It needs to be stored properly in a covered container to make sure it can last as long as possible. Some of the shop bought pesto does tend to last longer in the fridge due to the added preservatives. 

You can definitely freeze pesto which will give you more time to use it.

It’s also a really good idea to make sure you separate it into different amounts of containers so you do not need to keep opening, using and refreezing.

It is extremely important that you start to date when you put it in so you can keep an eye on how long it has been in there as items can sometimes get lost and forgotten about in the freezer. 

How Can You Combine The Ingredients?

What Is Pesto?

There are different ways in which to make pesto and different ways to combine the ingredients.

Many people claim that the real taste comes from combining them by hand and it tastes much better with every ingredient bringing something different.

Even when combined, the new flavors are spicy and delicious. 

Another way is by using the blender which people tend to find much easier to completely blend. This makes sure that it is lovely and smooth if you prefer it without any bits in it. 


Overall, the answer to the question, ‘what is pesto?’ is that it is a great accompaniment for many different dishes.

It is also very easy to make and you can add in your own ingredients to give it more spice or texture too.

Most people like to add extra cheese or avocado but it all depends on what you prefer.

Even though you are most likely to think that pesto only belongs on pasta, you can use it for many different dishes as sauces or a mixture. 

You need to remember the storage information because if you freeze it, you will be able to store it for longer and not waste any of the ingredients you used in it.

Most people don’t realize that you are able to freeze most things and save yourself a lot of money instead of throwing a lot out after you open it.

If you have made your own, you also need to make sure that you are keeping it in a covered container to stop contamination.

Keep all of this information in mind if you are looking to make your own pesto at home any time soon. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does A Pesto Taste Like?

Traditional pesto is a thick, green sauce that tastes bright and herby from the basil, and salty and rich from the cheeses and pine nuts.

It should be garlicky, with pleasant grassiness from good quality olive oil.

How Do You Eat Pesto?

Pesto mixed with olive oil or mayonnaise makes a regular salad special and is the perfect dressing for tuna, chicken, and pasta salads.

It can also add tremendous flavor when mixed into rice, risotto, or mashed potatoes, or dolloped onto hot vegetables such as cauliflower to transform fear into fabulousness.

What Is Pesto And Is It Good For You?

Traditional pesto sauce, with its combination of olive oil, pine nuts, fresh basil, garlic and Parmesan cheese, is a healthy addition to any diet.

While it is rather high in calories and fat, pesto offers a wealth of nutrients and a punch of flavor that many other sauces lack.

Jeff Pratt
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