Fresh Oregano Pesto, a simple garden fresh pesto made with fresh oregano leaves instead of basil. A great herby summer sauce for drizzling!
Love a good homemade pesto sauce? Try it with fresh oregano! Pesto sauce is traditionally made with basil, but is tasty with other fresh herbs like oregano. It’s great on pastas, in soups, and drizzled over grilled summer vegetables.
Ready to learn how to make pesto sauce with fresh oregano? Let’s do it!
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for oregano pesto:
- Oregano: Fresh oregano is the base of this pesto sauce (we do not recommend dried oregano for pesto). It’s tangy herbal bite pairs perfectly with the cheese and garlic in pesto.
- Pine nuts: Traditional pesto calls for pine nuts, however you can substitute for other nuts like almonds, pistachios, or walnuts. You can also opt for pumpkin or sunflower seeds for a nut-free pesto alternative.
- Garlic: Garlic cloves lend flavor and texture to pesto sauce.
- Olive oil: Oil is what helps keep the sauce components suspended and blends the flavors. We recommend extra virgin olive oil.
- Seasoning: Salt and pepper are added for flavor; add as much or as little as desired, but our recommended serving sizes are in the recipe card.
- Recommended tools: food processor or blender
🥣 How to make fresh oregano pesto (step-by-step photos)
1️⃣ Step One: Add all ingredients except olive oil to a blender
Add the fresh oregano, pine nuts, garlic, lemon, salt, and pepper to a blender or food processor.
👉 How to destem fresh oregano easily: Pulling oregano from the stems is time consuming, so try our quick and easy tip. Simply stick your oregano stem in the hole of a cheese grater and pull to shave all oregano leaves easily. Do this with all of your oregano stems and you’ll soon have a nice pile of oregano leaves (without spending an hour pulling off each leaf!).
2️⃣ Step Two: Pulse until mixed and add olive oil
Pulse the blender or food processor 4-5 times to chop the ingredients.
Then slowly add in the olive oil, pulsing periodically until the ingredients are mixed and the sauce is at your desired consistency.
❓ Questions + quick tips
Fresh oregano makes a great pesto if you don’t have basil on hand! Simply replace basil leaves with oregano leaves for an herbal take on traditional pesto. However, we do not recommend using dried oregano in pesto sauce.
Pesto is a traditional Italian sauce made with basil, garlic, cheese and olive oil. However, pesto can also be made with oregano – a great option if you don’t have any basil on hand.
Making pesto is a great way to use leftover fresh oregano. All you need is garlic, cheese and olive oil – which go perfectly on top of pasta for a quick dinner. But if you don’t have basil on hand, try an oregano pesto instead!
🌱 How to serve oregano pesto
Pesto sauce is one of the most flexible kitchen sauces around, here are some ideas for serving oregano pesto:
- Pasta: Mix pesto with cooked pasta and toss to coat.
- Pizza: Spread over top of pizza before baking.
- Sandwiches: Use as a spread on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise or mustard.
- Salads: Add chopped fresh parsley to salad greens, along with lemon juice
🧊 How to store
Pesto sauce is a great make-ahead recipe that can be refrigerator and frozen. Here are our storage tips for the best tasting pesto every time:
- Refrigerator storage: Store in an airtight container for up to four days
- Freezer storage: Store in an airtight container for up to two months. Thaw by removing container from the freezer and place it into the refrigerator 24 hours before serving to completely thaw.
👉 More simple sauce recipes
Looking for more simple homemade sauces? We’ve got you covered:
- 2 cups fresh oregano packed and destemmed
- ⅓ cup pine nuts or seeds if nut-free
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast if vegan
- 3 whole garlic cloves
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- Chop ingredients: Add oregano, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper to a food processor blender.
- Add oil: Pulse 4 – 5 times to chop ingredients, then turn on and slowly add olive oil until the pesto sauce is combined but not completed pureed
- Serve or store: Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Make ahead: Pesto sauce is a great make-ahead recipe to store for later use. Prepare up to four days ahead of time and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to use, or store in the freezer for up to two months.
- Pro tip! To keep pesto from browning, pour a small amount of oil on top before storing.
UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in August 2019 and was updated with new instructions and photos in February 2022.