Basil Pistou

All you need are fresh basil leaves, salt, garlic cloves and extra virgin olive oil to make this basil pistou. The green sauce is best made using a pestle and mortar.

Basil Pistou
Basil Pistou
Head straight on to the Recipe For ♥ Basil Pistou ♥
What is pistou?

Pistou comes from the Provençal region of France and is made from fresh basil, garlic and olive oil. I made basil pistou for our mediterranean meze table as one of the guests is allergic to cow’s milk. As with pesto, and zhug, pistou refers to the act of using a pestle and mortar to grind the ingredients together. Traditionally, one would add this to soup au pistou just before serving.

Let’s talk about basil

There are many varieties of basil, and opal basil is indigenous to where I live. Most common is sweet basil which is what is used in cooking around the world. And these are the leaves one uses for pesto and pistou. Thai basil is another firm favourite of mine for its distinct flavour. When growing basil it is important to nip the flowers off as soon as they appear. This encourages growth of the leaves, and will cause your plant to ‘fatten up’. The flowers can be placed on top of the coals of a barbeque to add flavour to what you are cooking. And I keep some in a small vase on the windowsill of my scullery. It is important to pick the leaves off the stem when using basil. And if adding it at the last moment to a dish, cut just before use, otherwise it will discolour.

Take a look at this inspiring recipe for ♥ Basil Pistou ♥ from Lavender and Lime #LavenderAndLime Click To Tweet

Basil Pistou


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5 from 1 vote

Basil Pistou

This simple green sauce is extremely versatile in its uses
Recipe Category: Sauces
Makes enough for: 1 batch pistou
All Rights Reserved: An original recipe from Lavender and Lime


  • 30 g basil leaves
  • 2.5 mls fine salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 20 mls olive oil


  • Place the basil, salt and garlic into a mortar and pound until broken up, using a pestle
  • Using the pestle to stir, slowly add the olive oil while mixing
  • Serve straight away
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13 thoughts on “Basil Pistou

  1. I know this is pistou, not pesto, and beautiful by the way, but Stefan from his Gourmet Blog has mentioned that traditional pesto made with a mortar and pestle is profoundly better than any other way. I make so much at one time, that I use a blender. But that’s so incredible to me.

    1. If I make a lot of pesto I also use the blender. But it does taste better when done by hand, for some odd reason 🙂

  2. I once made a Pistou vegetable soup. This Basil Pistou sounds easy and interesting. I’m sure the fresh basil is extremely flavorful.

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