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  • Jessica Shepherd

Lemon Balm (aka Melissa) Pesto Recipe!

Updated: Jul 7, 2019

Here I share with you one of my favorite home made pesto recipes using fresh Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) from the garden. Its bright lemon flavor adds a delightful twist on a classic favorite! This recipe was inspired after my friend and talented gardener Linda called me up and said "hey I have lemon balm to share with you" and boy she wasn't kidding, I left her house with a giant bag full. So it was time to get creative and use the lemon balm--I distilled it for hydrosol, I dried some for tea, I made an infused vinegar, and of course made this fabulous pesto.


Melissa Pesto 2.5 cups fresh lemon balm leaf (coarsely chopped) 2.5 cups fresh basil leaf 1/2 cup assorted pungent herbs—I used lime thyme, oregano, marjoram, and garlic chives 1/2 cup roasted walnuts (almonds, sunflower seeds, or pine nuts are also an option) 3-4 cloves garlic Zest from half a lemon 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice 2 teaspoons lemon thyme hydrosol (or lemon balm hydrosol) optional 3/4-1 cup olive oil

I use my handy immersion blender to mix it to desired consistency, but of course a trusty food processor/or blender works well too. I also love to freeze extra in an ice cube tray then package up for later use—although this is so good you’ll eat it up quickly!


This pesto is delicious enjoyed as a dip with fresh cut veggies and/or a rustic bread, drizzled on lightly steamed veggies/greens, in rice dishes, and of course on pasta or pizza. You can also turn it into a salad dressing by mixing equal parts of the pesto with additional olive oil. Bon appétit!




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