Sage Pesto Recipe with Sunflower Seeds

If you want to try something new or switch up your homemade pesto game, this sage pesto recipe is worth a try! Sage pesto is made with fresh sage and traditional basil, giving it a unique and earthy flavor that differentiates it from other pesto sauce recipes. Even the color is a deeper shade of green.

Want to Save This Recipe?

Enter your email & I'll send it to your inbox. Plus, get great new recipes from me every week!

Save the Recipe

By submitting this form, you consent to receive emails from Simple and Savory

The combination of mild and nutty sunflower seeds, the zing of garlic and the complex flavor of Parmesan cheese, makes this rich sauce the perfect addition to your favorite pasta, sandwich, or roasted vegetables.

🤍Why you will love this recipe

  • Distinctive flavor! Earthy, slightly peppery sage brings a unique flavor to this fresh pesto sauce.
  • It’s made with fresh ingredients that result in a flavorful, fragrant sauce.
  • It’s easy and quick to prepare, with minimal effort and ingredients. With a food processor or blender, you can whip up a batch in no time,

Here is what you will need to make this delicious pesto sauce

This is an overview of the ingredients and steps to make this delicious pesto recipe; scroll down for a printable recipe card with exact measurements and detailed instructions.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


  • Fresh sage leaves
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh garlic
  • Sunflower seeds


How to make this easy sage pesto recipe

a icture of the seeds and garlic blended in a food processor

STEP 1: Place the sunflower seeds and garlic clove into the bowl of a food processor and blend until crumbly.

STEP 2: Add the sage and basil and pulse until the leaves are chopped.

a picture of the sage and seeds blended in a food processor

STEP 3: Gradually add the oil and blend. Adjust the consistency with oil or water.

If you’re looking for inspiration on how to serve, prepare and enjoy pesto, be sure to check out this article about pesto sauce!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Olive oil- Extra virgin olive oil is the best olive oil to use when making pesto sauce. It has a milder and lighter flavor. It can be replaced with a good quality regular olive oil if unavailable.

Sunflower seeds – Add a slightly, creamy texture to the sauce. They can be replaced with pine nuts, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds or any of your favorite nuts. The nuts and seeds can also be left out altogether.

Fresh Basil – This adds a little touch of the traditional basil flavor and can be left out or substituted with any of your favorite fresh herbs.

How to store leftover pesto sauce

Leftover sage pesto sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. To keep it fresh tasting, cover the surface with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent oxidation.

It can be frozen for up to 6 months. I like to freeze leftover pesto in ice cube trays or mini silicone cupcake liners for individual portions that can be added to sauces, cream sauces, stews, and soups.

Recipe variations

Pesto is highly customizable, so don’t hesitate to adjust ingredient quantities to suit your taste preferences. Here are some suggestions to add different flavors or textures to your sage pesto.

Creamy Sage Pesto: Add a creamy element to the pesto sauce with heavy cream or Greek yogurt.

Lemon Sage Pesto: Brighten the sauce with freshly grated lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Extra Cheese: Increase the cheesy goodness by blending in extra grated cheese such as Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese.

Spicy: Add a subtle kick of heat with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or a small amount of finely chopped fresh chili pepper into the pesto.

What to serve with sage pesto

Sage pesto sauce is the perfect addition to your favorite al dente pasta. The combination of sage, basil, garlic, sunflower seeds, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese coats and flavors the pasta perfectly. Serve the pasta with a zesty arugula salad for a complete meal.

This delicious sauce also tastes great on grilled meat, fish dishes, roasted vegetables or spread on a sandwich. Add it to potato salad, sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs or caprese salad.

💡Top Tips

  • Toast the sunflower seeds before adding them to the pesto sauce for a more intense flavor.
  • Taste as you go, and adjust the flavor to suit your taste.
  • Blanch the sage and basil leaves in boiling water for a few seconds and then transfer them to an ice water bath before blending to preserve the color of the pesto sauce.
Can sage pesto sauce be made ahead of time?

Yes! Sage pesto sauce can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for later use. It’s convenient to have on hand for quick and easy meal preparations.

How do I adjust the consistency of sage pesto sauce?

Adding a little olive oil or water can make the pesto sauce thinner. If the suace is too thin, gradually add and blend more sunflower seeds or cheese into the sauce.

Can I use dried sage to make pesto instead of fresh sage leaves?

Fresh sage leaves are recommended for the best flavor when making sage pesto. Fresh herbs offer a robust flavor, vibrant color, and a smooth consistency.

Do you need a food processor to make pesto?

No, you can also make pesto sauce in a blender, but you will need enough liquid for the ingredients to blend properly. Another great way to make pesto is with a mortar and pestle.

Are you too tired to cook dinner?

If you’re feeling uninspired when it’s time to cook dinner, this free guide will help you make a quick and healthy dinner with ingredients you have in your kitchen.

You might like these pesto recipes too

Do you like this recipe?
Please comment and give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating below!

a picutre of pesto sauce in a jar with a spoon

Sage Pesto Sauce

Sage pesto sauce made with fresh sage has a unique earthy flavor that sets it apart from other pesto sauce recipes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Click on serving size to scale this recipe

Course: Sauce and Salsa Recipes
Cuisine: American Italian
Keyword: Sage pesto sauce
Servings: 16 tablespoons
Calories: 75kcal
Author: Anne
Scale this Recipe 16 tablespoons


  • 1/4 cup Sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup Sage leaves fresh, packed
  • 1/2 cup Basil leaves fresh, packed
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil
  • 3 clove Garlic up to 3 cloves – depending on your taste


  • Place 1/4 cup Sunflower seeds and 3 clove Garlic into a bowl of a food processor and pulse them until they become crumbly.
  • Add 1 cup Sage leaves and 1/2 cup Basil leaves process until the leaves are chopped.
  • Gradually add 1/2 cup Olive oil and blend checking the consistency; blend into a smooth sauce. Add the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese quickly blend in and serve.


Adjust the consistency of sage pesto sauce by adding more olive oil or water to thin it out or more sunflower seeds or cheese to thicken it.
Store leftover pesto sauce in the refrigerator for up to a week, and freeze it for up to six months. 
See above for tips, variations and more!


Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 75kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 55mg | Potassium: 14mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.01g | Vitamin A: 67IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and can vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Sign Up for Easy Recipes Straight in Your In-Box!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.