final pesto in a jar with a spoon

There are two ways to make pesto, when it’s planned and when you have too much basil. Melissa, here. I made pesto for the second reason, and you’ll soon see some of my basil looks a bit sad. No worries! It can still be used! Whip up a small batch and put it over chicken, pasta, as a spread for sandwiches, even as salad dressing! 

This recipe is straightforward. Your little one gets to tear, smash, smell, pour and push buttons. What can take this one to the next level is exploring the herbs. If you have some fresh herbs, get em out. It’s fun to explore with our eyes, noses and tongues. 


  • Big spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • Blender


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Pine nuts (or sunflower seeds)
  • 2 cups basil
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (shredded or powdered)
  • Pinch of salt


Get the ingredients ready

Round up what you need! Feel free to experiment. This recipe usually comes out different each time you make it!

You can swap the nuts for other types of nuts or sunflower seeds.


pesto ingredients out on a counter

Wash hands

20+ seconds. Happy birthday twice.

Water and soap.


Let's play

Let’s play with herbs! Here we have basil, cilantro, rosemary and mint.

Feel the texture.

Smell it- what does it smell like?

Clap or smack the herb between two hands – does it smell stronger?

Lick it- what does it taste like?


parsley, basil, rosemary and cilantro on counter

Tear the basil

This step is another one to explore herbs. Ask your little one the same questions as above.


basil that has been torn in pieces

Measure ingredients into the blender

Save the cleanup and dump ingredients right into the blender.


ingredients in the blender

Press blend

Pulse your blender until everything is smooth.

You may need to stir things around. If needed you can add more oil or water if things get jammed up.

pesto blended in blender


Taste test the pesto. Does it taste like the basil alone? What does it smell like?

Serve in an airtight jar for up to a week. 

We love to use it on adult salads and on pasta for the whole family!


final pesto in a jar with a spoon