Roasted Garlic Pesto

Roasted Garlic Pesto
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4 from 4 reviews

Roasting garlic mellows its sharp flavor and is a great way to use up extra heads of garlic hiding in your pantry. Mix it with nuts, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, and lemon and you get a pesto that’s perfect for pasta.



For the Roasted Garlic

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

For the Pesto

  • 23 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (see note)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Roast the Garlic: Remove the loose papery stuff from the outside of the garlic. Slice the top of the garlic off, enough so the tops of the cloves are exposed. Place the whole head of garlic on a piece of tin foil, drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil over the top, and pull the tin foil up around it and twist close. There are two ways to roast the garlic:
    • Oven Method: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the wrapped garlic directly on the rack and roast for 30 -40 minutes.
    • Outdoor Grill Method: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Place the wrapped garlic directly on the grill, close the lid, and roast for 30 minutes.
  2. Make the Pesto: Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze it to extract the roasted cloves. Place the roasted garlic, basil, pine nuts, salt, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese in a blender or food processor. Pulse a few times to chop and mix the ingredients. With the machine running, slowly add 1/3 cup of olive oil. Check for salt and add additional, if necessary. Makes approximately 1 cup.


Pine nuts are expensive so I often substitute walnuts or slivered almonds when I don’t feel like dipping into my savings account for a half a cup of pine nuts.


Keywords: roasted garlic pesto, pesto recipe