You know how there’s some things you keep buying, even though you know it’s ridiculously easy to make? Pesto, friends. Pesto.
Sidebar – for some reason the word pesto makes me think of Harry Potter. If you yell it really loud, doesn’t it kind of sound like the beginning of a spell? Preferably a spell that would turn my notebook into a delicious ice cream sundae oozing with chocolate and salted caramel sauce, or a big, juicy burger with extra cheese and pickles….(I might be hungry)….but I’m sorry to say, J.K. Rowling did not make the appetite of her characters a magical priority, so there is no such spell in the HP books. I can confirm – I have a list.
Ok, spells aside, (and dinner eaten), I had made pesto a few times before, and much to my delight, it had always turned out great; HOWEVER, pine nuts are ridiculously expensive. I am using this reason as the reason that I stopped making it and kept buying it, although that little thing called convenience might have played a part as well.
I had heard that you can use a variety of different nuts to make pesto, but had never tried it until one day I was faced with a Costco-sized bag of walnuts and some garden basil that was beginning to flower. Ta da! Walnut basil pesto was born.
Walnuts are not the most glamourous of nuts, but they have a ridiculously high amount of Vitamin E and even those sought-after Omega 3’s. Not sold yet? Walnuts are cheap. OK – maybe not CHEAP, but much, much more affordable than those pesky pine nuts.
Making the pesto takes all of 5 minutes (WIN)!! Combine all of the ingredients except the oil and lemon juice, and pulse for a few minutes in a food processor, or powerful blender. Slowly add in the oil, and pulse until the pesto is mostly blended. Add in the lemon juice, pulse a few more times, and voila.
We enjoyed our fresh pesto on some pasta recently, but my favourite way to use it is probably on a sandwich. So good! Pesto is pretty versatile; use it on pizza, pasta, sandwiches, or simply as a dip. If you’re feeling adventurous you can add in some spices and herbs to your pesto (think mint or cilantro).
The finished product will last a couple of weeks in the fridge, or up to 2 months in the freezer. You can even store the pesto in an ice cube tray for single-serve usage. (I’m full of great ideas today).
Walnut Basil Pesto
Yield 1 cup
A classic pesto made with buttery walnuts and fresh basil, perfect for pasta, sandwiches and pizza.
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 1/3 cup walnuts (whole or pieces)
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 cloves garlic (try roasted garlic)
- 1/2 cup oil (avocado, olive, or vegetable)
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- In the bowl of a food processor or powerful blender, add the basil, walnuts, parmesan, and garlic. Pulse for about a minute to combine the ingredients, then slowly add the oil (using the pour attachment of the processor) or by adding the oil in stages to the blender, pulsing the entire time.
- Scrape down the sides of the processor/blender and add the lemon juice. Pulse/blend until the pesto is smooth. Use immediately.
Pesto will keep in the fridge, in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, or up to 2 months in the freezer. Try freezing the pesto in an ice cube tray for single-serve use.
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