Kevin’s P.B.S. Pesto

FOR THE SAKE OF EXPERIMENTATION, last weekend I grabbed some parsley, basil, and sage from my garden,  and pureed them together with pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic and olive oil.  In other words, I made a pesto. A pesto that was fabulously-fragrant. A pesto that was layered with flavor. A pesto that was so deliciously-delicious that after just one taste, I nearly passed out with pleasure.

I christened this bliss “P.B.S. Pesto” in honor of the herbs it contains:

Parsley. I grow the flat-leaved, or “Italian” variety, because it is more peppery than the curly-leaved type.

Basil. My life would be incomplete without this sweet, anise-flavored herb.

Sage. I grow the common-type. It has a wonderful, smokey taste.

P.B.S. Pesto
Ingredients for about 1 cup of sauce
Parsley and Basil — 2 cups of each, roughly chopped and lightly pressed down
Sage – 10 large leaves, roughly chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, smashed
1/4 cup Pine Nuts
1 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil – enough to achieve the desired consistency
Salt to taste

Rinse, dry, and roughly chop the parsley, basil and sage.

The parsley and basil should measure  2 cups or more when roughly chopped and lightly pressed down.

Toss the herbs into the work-bowl of a food processor…

And give them a 5-second spin, just to achieve a coarse puree.

Now add 2 cloves of smashed garlic…

And 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of pine nuts.

Pine nuts are incredibly expensive. And no wonder! These soft, buttery seeds are plucked from the cones of pine trees.

Slivered almonds, in my experience, make a fine substitute for pricey pine nuts.

Add one cup of Parmesan cheese.

Now turn the machine on, and slowly pour olive oil through the feed-tube.

How much oil? Well, that depends on the consistency you desire.

Desire a thick dipping-sauce? Use approximately 1/3 cup of olive oil.

Desire a thin sauce for pouring over pasta? Use more oil.

Desire a man with 6-pack abs and thighs that could crack a walnut?

You’re on the wrong website, baby.

If necessary, turn the machine off and scrape down the bowl with a green spatula.

The pesto is complete when the fibrous strands of the herbs are no longer visible.

Oh. Process in some kosher salt, too.  I used slightly less than one 1/4 teaspoon for my sauce.

I can tell you this P.B.S. Pesto is fab-u-licious on a toasted round of Pain de Mie.

It’s equally delicious on a gluten-free cracker.It takes sauteed chicken breasts to a whole new level of awesomeness…

And you haven’t lived until you’ve tried the sauce on linguine.

For easy reference, here’s a copy-and-paste version of the above deliciousness:

P.B.S. Pesto
Kevin Lee Jacobs, A Garden for the House
Ingredients for about 1 cup of sauce
Parsley and Basil — 2 cups of each, when roughly chopped and lightly pressed down
Sage – 10 large leaves, roughly chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, smashed
1/4 cup Pine Nuts
1 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil – enough to achieve the desired consistency
Salt to taste

1. Rinse, dry, and roughly chop the herbs.
2. Toss the herbs in the work bowl of a food processor; coarsely puree.
3. Add the garlic, pine nuts and cheese to the herb mixture; coarsely puree.
4. With the machine running, slowly add olive oil to desired consistency. Scrape the machine down with a rubber spatula as necessary.
5. Add salt to taste; mix thoroughly. Pureeing is complete when no fibrous strands of herbs are visible.

As a thick sauce, P.B.S. Pesto makes a terrific dip for crackers, and a blissful topping for grilled or sauteed chicken or fish. Thinned out with extra olive oil, it is magnificent with pasta.

Think you’ll give this perfumed pesto a try? You can let me know by leaving a comment. As always, your words are the sunshine of my life.

Don’t miss anything at A Garden for the House…sign up for Kevin’s weekly newsletter.

Related Posts:
Chive Pesto
Garlic Scape Pesto
Bacon-Wrapped Grissini


  1. badger gardener says:

    I have all these herbs this year so will pick up some pine nuts today and have this over pasta for a weekday meal. I was so happy w/ your other pesto recipes that I know this one will be a hit too.

    Did you harvest your garlic yet? I’m not sure about mine. I dug up one 2 wks. ago and it was not ready.

  2. Hi Badger – I harvested my garlic yesterday. The heads are not as large as last year’s crop (thanks, I suspect, to our awful weather), but they are still good-sized. If you try the pesto, let me know how it turns out for you. I’m hooked on the stuff!

  3. Caitilin says:

    I was out in my garden yesterday, and saw my huge sage plant and thought “I wish that Garden for the House dude would publish a recipe using sage”. Wish granted.

  4. Patti Martin says:

    I’m excited about this! I have all of these in my garden and use them separately for lots of dishes. I am looking forward to this combination. Thanks, Kevin… make my life brighter!

  5. Gracias por esta receta ….hoy lo hice y mi pasta quedo fabulosa,perfumada y deliciosa ……yo use almendras en lugar de piñones.

  6. Cailtilin, Patti Martin and Fa – What nice comments to read! Thank you.

  7. Diane from Boston says:

    This looks great. I have a ton of parsley this year and plenty of basil and sage as well, so I will definitely be making it. AND today picked I my first tomatoes! Napa Grape and Fourth of July! Whoop whoop!

  8. Kevin, first time poster here.

    I’ve just finished reading, well, every single post on this blog. (Took me quite a while.) I must say, I’ve been gardening forever and while I am still very much an amateur, my almost 4,000 sq ft of mixed borders will benefit from all of the remarkably practical and usable information you’ve addressed thus far. I also cook, and have enjoyed and printed off several recipes. My house is stuffed with too many houseplants and I too force bulbs, branches and just about anything else I can get to grow all winter long, but I have learned quite a few new tricks here. I read a number of gardening blogs, among other topics, but find yours to be the most conversational, the most welcoming and so encouraging; your ‘voice’ is unique in this way. I trust a book is in your future.

    Please count me a new fan, and I look forward to each of your posts to come.

    If I may, a few questions? Can you tell us if you are self-taught, or have received more formal horticulture training somewhere? Do you take your own photos and if so, how did you learn to be such an able photographer? And while you appear to be a mere 29 years of age, given the hours that you must put into your house and gardens, may I ask if you are retired or semi-retired? And finally, what brought you to your current town specifically? At the risk of appearing nosy, I am simply intrigued by the man behind the knowledge!


    A New Fan (Tracy, who is now on a mission to collect plastic milk jugs…)

  9. This sounds like a great recipe! I make the traditional pesto, but I think it’s a great idea to try various herbs in it! Can’t wait to give this a try. I have a little kitchen garden on my deck with a few herbs, but also am involved in a community garden and I can go there to the herb plot to gather the sage and parsley! I’m excited to give this a try!

    Thanks so much for the recipe!

  10. Hi Diane from Boston – How nice to have ripe tomatoes this early. Enjoy!

    Tracy – What kind words! Thank you. To answer a few of your questions: Yes, I take my own photographs, and a cookbook is in the works. As for my knowledge of gardening, cooking, and decorating — this was acquired through decades of hands-on experience.

    Maggie – If you make this pesto, I hope you’ll let me know how it turns out for you.

  11. Hi Kevin,

    I was at Home Depot yesterday when I thought of you – they had green velvet boxwood (granted just the 1 gal containers) for $3.50 each. Naturally – I stuffed as many as I could into my little Aveo and took them home.
    What is your opinion on end-of-season perennial shrub sales? I’m planning a major garden overhaul and it would be *great* if I could get them on the cheap knowing that they’ll be gorgeous next season. I live in Zone 5 (Binghamton, NY).

  12. This pesto is simply delicious!!!!!! I had it at Kevin’s home and am a total convert to this recipe. Yum.

  13. Trudi Dido says:

    sage? hmm that sounds like an interesting switch for my taste buds. I want to see what is next in your article and then I will go shopping for herbs. My garden this year is a weed happy mess. We’ve had 3 years of not enough rain and this year its been a deluge …. weeds are happy . I ‘m getting too old and lazy to stay ahead of them. “My” plants are in there somewhere . It isn’t raining yet today. so I “should “get off the computer and go weed while its cool enough .
    Sunday morning reading your post is still a delight for us all . Thanks!

  14. “Desire a man with 6-pack abs and thighs that could crack a walnut? You’re on the wrong website, baby.” LOL. You crack me up.

  15. Caitilin says:

    I made this yesterday and used some of it on a pork tenderloin (sliced a pocket in it and slathered it on). Very delicious!

  16. Lynne Hammes says:

    I would like to recommend another pesto that I have used on fish with great results. Fresh mint (there is always lots in the garden) lemon grass (the white parts) or lemon balm, parsley, walnuts, and olive oil. Yum.

  17. George L. says:


    We just made the Pesto – didn’t have any pine nut or almonds but it was delicious. I had in on french bread with italian salami – delish!

  18. Over homemade pasta it is the perfect combination, served with Le Faux Frog, 2005 Le Boom Merlot it was happiness at this Arizona table.

    I like your other Pesto recipes, this one is another winner, I love your creativity.

    Comme toujours, merci.

  19. I have an abundance of all this year and I will try first thing in the morning after my morning garden pickin! Thanks and Happy Anniversary!

  20. susan sexton says:

    I have a new addiction!!

  21. badger gardener says:

    We had this tonight over pasta. Wish I had that Merlot to go w/ it as mentioned by Oriane. I will admit, I was nervous about the addition of sage, but I trusted your culinary wisdom and added it. I was very happy that I did as it made a terrific pesto.

  22. I did make the pesto Kevin and it has its own distinct flavour with the mix of the 3 herbs. I like that I made it with less oil and can then use it as a dip or thin it out if using it over pasta. I topped it with a thin layer of oil though as it did darken with the exposure to the air. We are looking forward to a pasta dinner this week with it. I used walnuts for mine and it still turned out great! I hope it’s ok but I shared it on my blog but did credit your site for the original recipe and posted a link to it. Thanks again for the great recipe! Have a great day!

  23. Another great recipe and a few laughs, what could be better!
    As always, thanks for the weekly A Garden for the House treat!

  24. This is a great recipe. I love the use of sage, brings pesto to a new level – great simple pasta dish with a salad and slice of garlic bread. I will make more and freeze it for winter. thanks

  25. ALL your recipes are delicious. My husband thinks you’re a genius! I made your blueberry bars a couple of weeks ago (we found a good place to pick blueberries on a hike one day–netted 6 quarts), and then this morning we had an abundance of blackberries from another hike, and I made more bars with them. They are delectable, too, although you have to add a little more cornstarch because they’re juicier. Love your website. Thank you for the time you spend doing it.

  26. Mathias says:

    Hi, i’m Mathias from Germany. Could you pleas tell me the Name of the specific parsley-variety you’re using here? It seems like your variety grows like a forest:-) Every year I plant my parsely it just comes out small and with tiny litty stems and leaves. Maybe this year I should try you’re variety. Greetings from Cologne, Mathias

  27. Hi Mathias – It’s Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum — common flat-leaved or “Italian” parsley. Give it full sun and good, loose soil, and it will flourish for you. I do not fertilize mine.

  28. Hy Kevin,
    thank you! I’ll buy this variety and give it a new try in a few days. Have a nice spring!

  29. Anne Sullivan says:


    As it’s pesto time, I’ve been jarring up little jars of pesto. How do you freeze it? Unless you’re one of those ice-cube tray people, what type of container do you place your pesto into?
    Usually It’s the best shelf in the frig. Neatly lined up little jars.
    Does this mean I should organize my open plan freezer better?

    Please advise, now that you’ve gotten your cook book done.

    A few more days, be serving your lovely tomato pie. Yum. Thanks

  30. Janice MacLean says:

    I think this is definitely becoming my absolute favourite website. My go to for almost everything. Just wanting to drop a quick note and say thank you!

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