Roasted Jalapeno Pesto

Jun 19, 2019 | Food, Lunch/Dinner

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What is not to love about pesto? It’s full of flavor, it’s easy to make, and can be easily modified to suit your specific taste. This variation of pesto uses a combination of basil and roasted jalapenos to give you a flavorful sauce that has a subtle spicy kick to it. You can use pesto on so many different foods from pasta to vegetables, meats to salad dressings, the possibilities are endless! Like our healthy Personal Chicken Pesto Pizza recipe!

We like the change the kind of basil we use depending on what we are growing in the garden. You can use traditional sweet basil which will be readily available at the grocery store, we used a 75% sweet basil/ 25% Thai basil combination for this recipe. We also used jalapenos from our garden which is why the length size is so much smaller than the large jalapenos you would find at the grocery store. Just adjust quantity based on how large the jalapenos you are using. When making this recipe the key is to use high quality ingredients, especially with the olive oil and Parmesan cheese since any lower quality ingredients will be evident in the final product.

Spicy Jalapeno Pesto Sauce Recipe

Roasted Jalapeno Pesto

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Course: Miscellaneous
Servings: 17 Servings
Calories: 220kcal


  • 12 oz whole jalapenos about 12 2" jalapenos
  • ½ cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice about 1/2 lemon
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 cup fresh basil See note
  • cup olive oil high quality
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp pepper freshly ground
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese grated


  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread whole jalapenos on a lightly greased baking sheet. Lightly spray jalapenos with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 20 minutes, turning half way through. Let cool.
  • Reduce oven to 350°F. Lay nuts on sheet pan and bake for 4-5 minutes, until slightly toasted. Let cool.
  • Clean basil and dry. We like using a salad spinner to dry the basil because it prevents bruising to the leaves. Remove tops from jalapenos and discard.
  • Add lemon juice, pine nuts (or walnuts), jalapenos, and garlic cloves to blender and blend well. Add basil and slowly add oil while blending. Stop when all ingredients are fully incorporated. Add cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper, blend for 2-3 seconds. Add Parmesan cheese and blend. Store in air tight container with small layer of olive oil on top to help preserve green color.


In this recipe we used jalapenos from our garden, accounting for the smaller size than what you would traditionally find at the grocery store.  Adjust amount of jalapenos based on what you are using (if store has 6″ jalapenos, use 4-5 instead of 12, etc). 
Pesto freezes very well so it makes a perfect recipe to make in bulk when basil is in season and portion it for later use.  I use a silicon ice cube tray to freeze individual portions of pesto that I can grab when needed.  Simply spray tray with non-stick spray, add pesto, then add a small layer of oil on top.  Put in a freezer bag or seal with plastic wrap, let freeze, then remove and add to a freezer bag for storage.  You can hold pesto for up to 6 months in the freezer.
Basil leaves weigh about 25 grams per cup when removed from the stem.  I like weighing basil instead of putting it in a measuring cup because the compacting will cause the basil to bruise and turn black.  This recipe uses about 50 grams of basil.
We like to keep the seeds in the jalapenos to increase the spiciness of our pesto.  If you want a more subtle roasted jalapeno flavor with less heat, remove seeds before putting jalapenos in the blender.


Serving: 3tbsp | Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 209mg | Potassium: 78mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 300IU | Vitamin C: 16.8mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 0.6mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Love pesto but not a huge fan of spicy food? Don’t worry! We have a wonderful Toasted Walnut Pesto that is just as easy to make! Check it out today and never buy the prepackaged pesto again!

About Me


Hello everyone! My name is Angie Mallery, and I’m the proud founder of Wicked Handy. This blog is my playground for sharing everything that makes life more joyful and practical—from crafting and cooking to gardening and DIY projects. I’m thrilled you’re here and hope you find inspiration and enjoyment in what I love to do. Thank you for visiting!

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