Fully Grown Basil Plant

Simple & Easy 5 Ingredient Basil Pesto

Everyone loves the intoxicating, aromatic smell of basil. It’s a versatile culinary herb that’s been adopted by many different countries around the world. The variety of basil most of us cook with in North America is the Genovese basil plant that originated from Italy. This is the variety I’ll be talking about in this article.

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thanks.

As stated, this basil plant is extremely versatile in cooking, it also has many medicinal properties and its aromatic scent wards off unwanted insects in your garden beds.

Even if you don’t use basil in cooking – it should definitely be something that you grow alongside your plants.

The main reason we grow basil is to make pesto and to dry out the fresh herb for a shelf-stable pantry spice. After many bountiful basil seasons, I’ve crafted the easiest, quickest and most efficient pesto recipe and I’m going to share it below. If that’s what your here for, jump to that.

If you’re interested in learning a little bit more about basil and some of it’s benefits and how we use it in the garden, check out my quick article.

Pesto Pasta with Fresh Garden Tomatoes
Pesto Pasta with Fresh Garden Tomatoes

How to Grow Basil

Basil is an annual plant, so that means it grows for one season, dies in the winter and does not come back.

However, if allowed to go to seed, this basil plant produces a lot of flowers and you can save tons of seeds to grow the following year.

Basil also is very easy to propagate. That means you can cut off a fresh stem, clean off the bottom leaves, place in water and it will grow roots within a few weeks. Just like that you have another basil plant to harvest leaves from. You can watch our basil propagating video here.

Since it’s so easy to grow, you can have an abundance of pants scattered around your garden beds and use it for whatever you want!

How Much Basil Should You Grow?

The amount we grow tends to vary year to year, but it seems like each year we tend to grow a lot more than the previous year.

Initially we started off with one plant in a pot, like most beginners – we were just excited to be growing some herbs! Then we grew a few around our tomato plants and tried making some pesto as needed.

From there, we started to grow one basil plant per two tomato plants and started freezing pesto into pucks using our silicon muffin pan. As time progressed we continued and also grew basil throughout the garden as a companion plant and for more basil to eat along with medicinal purposes.

Additionally we also grow a small plant indoors during the winter months.

Washed Basil

Why I Like to Grow Basil

Not only is basil easy to grow, but it’s such a versatile herb!

Obviously you can use basil in pasta sauces or in caprese salads, and in many other recipes. We personally love to use it to make pesto!

We crafted a perfect 5 ingredient recipe that doesn’t require nuts of any sort and you can literally make it with everything you currently have in your home. In fact – I would bet my entire frozen pesto stash that you have these products in your home.

Almost all types of basil varieties also have medicinal properties. One of the main ways I personally utilize it fresh is, for pain relief.

Instead of taking Advil (which you can’t take while pregnant!), or Tylenol, I just steep some freshly picked basil/mint/rosemary herbal tea and within 15-30 minutes it goes away. That’s just one simple way to use it.

The last one I’ll name here is it’s ability to ward off unwanted insects while also promoting better growth for specific plants. Tomatoes and basil are great companion plants as the basil repels flies and hornworms while also improving the flavor of tomatoes.

To learn more about growing your own tomatoes, check out our Tomato Growing Guide.

Which Basil Varieties To Grow?

This depends on your needs and wants!

We only grow Genovese basil. This is the type you will find at the grocery store. It’s the best variety for eating and it’s well known for it aromatic scent which helps in deterring those pesky bugs.

There are countless types of basil varieties, here’s a few common ones you might hear about.

  • Lemon basil: It’s similar in use to Genovese basil but with a lemon taste. We tried to grow this but I personally didn’t like the taste.
  • African blue basil: This basil has beautiful purple leaves. It’s one of the few varieties of basil that is a perennial and can only be propagated by cuttings.
  • Holy basil: This variety is also a perennial and used mainly for medicinal purposes and native and grown in India, Asia and Australia.
Fully Grown Basil Plant

Simple 5 Ingredient Pesto

Dina Wilson
You can make this simple, aromatic basil pesto at home with ingredients you currently have in your home! Easily preserve your abundance of fresh basil pesto by freezing into pucks or traditionally canning.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
15 minutes
Total Time 24 minutes


  • Food Processor size doesn't matter, only depends on the quantity you want to make at a time.


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cups parmesan
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Harvest your fresh basil leaves
  • Pick basil leaves off the stems and wash leaves thoroughly
    Washed Basil
  • Add all ingredients into the food processor and blend until smooth
    Basil in Food Processor
  • Add more oil or parmesan as needed for taste
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top