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Classic Basil Pesto by Leslie Lennox

Leslie Lennox is the leading Pesto-preneur of New York and Square Roots’ go-to pesto expert. Following a career in fashion, Leslie began making homemade pesto with basil grown in her family’s greenhouse. Once it took off at local farmer’s markets, Hope’s Gardens Pesto started popping up in Whole Foods Markets and on Delta Airline flights across the country. Pesto: The Modern Mother Sauce is Leslie’s first cookbook. It’s an excellent guide for cooking with fresh herbs (or those greens in your fridge that you don’t want to waste) and to inspire brighter, healthier cooking. In her classic basil pesto recipe, our Bed-Stuy grown basil lays the foundation for a flavorful, locally-sourced, use-it-on-everything ingredient.


Yield: Makes 1 cup
  • 4 cups Square Roots basil
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 6 garlic cloves, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor. Pulse for several seconds, until mixture turns into a paste.
  2. Slowly add the olive oil through the top of the processor while pulsing, then pulse for about 10 seconds. Scrape down the sides and pulse once or twice more. If you prefer a smoother consistency, add a little more olive oil and continue pulsing.
  3. When the pesto is to your liking, transfer to a jar, top with a thin layer of olive oil, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Next-Level Tips
  • To prolong the shelf life of pesto, leave out the parmesan and add when you’re ready to serve.
  • Get creative! Mix up the flavor by adding other fresh herbs like sorrel, chives, or mustard greens.
  • Spread on a sandwich, blend into salad dressing, or spoon over pizza, because pesto goes on more than just pasta.

You can follow along with Leslie Lennox on Instagram @hopesgardenspesto and find more pesto-making-tips in her new book, PESTO: The Modern Mother Sauce, available to order online. Find Square Roots herbs at a store near you via our store locator and subscribe to our newsletter for more herb-y recipes and tips.