Sorrel-Basil Pesto

Recipe 15 minPreparation Time 0 minCooking Time
Sorrel-Basil Pesto

Sorrel-Basil Pesto

15 minPreparation Time 0 min Cooking Time

About this Recipe

This springtime pesto mixes sorrel and pumpkin seeds with basil and pine nuts for a version of the traditional Ligurian green sauce that’s bright and tart, thanks to the lemony sorrel. Make this in a mortar and pestle if you have one (it has to be big, like the Italian marble ones that are meant for making pesto), but the instructions here are for a food processor (because life). Add and pulse the ingredients in stages so that the final result is a coarse, irregular paste.

The Benefits

Sorrel is particularly packed with vitamin C, which plays a critical role in the functioning of your immune system. It’s also an excellent source of magnesium, which helps your heart stay healthy.

Note: This recipe can easily be doubled. Any leftover pesto can be stored in the freezer for up to several months. The addition of grapeseed oil here is meant to make for a little lighter flavor, but you can use solely olive oil. 


Makes 1 cup (200 g)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup (35 g) pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) pumpkin seeds
  • 1 handful (15 g) basil leaves
  • 1 handful (25 g) sorrel leaves
  • 2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup (25 g) parmesan, grated


  1. Step 1
    Put the garlic cloves, a pinch of salt, and half of the pine nuts and pumpkin seeds in a food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times, just to start breaking them up. Add half of the basil and sorrel and pulse 2 or 3 times.
  2. Step 2
    Add the rest of the nuts, pumpkin seeds, basil, and sorrel and pulse several times. Pour in the olive and grapeseed oils and pulse just to a coarse puree.
  3. Step 3
    Transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the cheese, if using, just before serving. It will keep in the refrigerator, covered with a thin layer of oil, for up to 1 week.

Level Up: There’s no argument against making pesto with a mortar and pestle (it’s just that not everyone has one large enough, and it should be marble or stone)

Try It With: Pasta, of course; as a dip for crudités; tossed with steamed vegetables and served with rice or other grains; mixed into salad dressing; smeared on toast

Zero Waste: Use any leftover herbs or trimmings for stock