Rosemary Pesto

Although the word ‘pesto’ comes from the Italian word ‘pestare’, meaning to pound or crush, Pesto is the name given to the popular paste made with basil, pine-nuts and Parmesan.  However, nowadays it is a generic name for any herbs blended with oil, garlic and, usually, nuts and cheese.   Pestos are such a convenient way to keep herbs chopped, prepared and ready to use that I usually have several variations in my fridge. To be honest, I don’t often add the nuts and cheese as they are more versatile without. I just add whatever I need when I cook.

rosemary pestoRosemary is a pungent herb and can be over-powering, especially in vegetarian meals. The parsley in this recipe tones down the flavour and gives another dimension to the taste.  I like to keep two versions on hand – a chunky one for roast vegetables, dips and marinades, and a smooth one for pasta, sauces and grain recipes.

Try the chunky one as a marinade for haloumi cheese, for tossing through roast vegetables about 10 minutes before they finish cooking, and in tomato-based sauces.  If you are a meat eater it would be perfect to add to basting sauces and marinades.

The smooth version is delicious in a super quick pasta dish.  Cook your pasta as per directions on the packet, drain and stir in the rosemary pesto, some fried onions and a bit of Parmesan cheese, and even some roughly chopped olives.

I have also used it with those huge field mushrooms that are perfect for stuffing.  Fry the mushrooms and top with pesto.  Stir-fry some shredded spinach, a bit of garlic and maybe some onion.  Fill the mushrooms, top with mozzarella cheese and pop under the grill until the cheese is browned and bubbly.  Oh yes, the other way I love this smooth pesto is in mashed potatoes.  My mouth is watering just thinking it about it!

Rosemary Pesto

This is an easy way to keep rosemary prepared and ready to use. I keep two jars on hand. Very smooth, for pasta dishes, a dip or pasta, and a chunkier version for roast vegetables and some sauces.
Course Oils, vinegars, sauces
Keyword Barefoot Life, pesto, rosemary
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes


  • 1/2 cup Fresh rosemary leaves, stripped from stems
  • 1 cup Fresh parsley leaves, stripped from stems
  • 2 Tbsp Garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Small chili, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup Olive oil
  • Black pepper to taste


  • Chop the parsley and rosemary finely
  • Blend herbs, garlic and chili. Either until it is smooth but with a bit of texture from the rosemary, or totally smooth
  • Slowly add the lemon juice and olive oil
  • Season with black pepper and salt if needed. Rosemary is quite a salty herb so you may not need salt
  • Pour into a glass jar and then top with a bit more olive oil to cover pesto. This will prevent it going brown
  • Keep in the fridge for up to a month
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