Walnut Basil Pesto

walnut basil pesto

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.

walnut basil pesto

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

Walnut Basil Pesto

Prep

Total

Yield 1 cup

A classic pesto made with buttery walnuts and fresh basil, perfect for pasta, sandwiches and pizza.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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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walnut basil pesto

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A classic pesto made with buttery walnuts and fresh basil, perfect for pasta, sandwiches and pizza.
 

32 Comments

  1. Mmmm… love pesto! It’s such a good classic that I always come back to it. Love the idea of making it with walnuts!

  2. Ben|Havocinthekitchen

    I keep buying pesto as well although I do know a homemade one is much more delicious. But our supermarket has stopped selling my favorite sun-dried tomato pesto this year so I’ve been planning to make it for a while. I agree on that the pine nuts are ridiculously expensive; however, I buy a bag at Costco which lasts for a few months (which is not that bad. Especially if compare the cost at Costco and bulk stores). Walnut and basil is one of my favorite combos so I’m digging this delightful pesto!

  3. Yum! Walnuts give pesto such a nice meaty woodsy bite!

  4. This pesto looks so fresh and so yummy! I JUST got my replacement blades from Cuisinart in the mail today! Time to get the food processor back out! YUM! XOXO 🙂

  5. Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen

    Dear JK Rowling, please create a spell that will turn my computer into this pesto. Thank you! For real, Katherine, pesto is easily one of my favorite things. I’ve never tried making it with walnuts but you’re so right about convenience. I always have walnuts on hand. NEVER have pine nuts :). Have a great evening!

  6. This pesto looks amazing!

  7. marcie@flavorthemoments

    Pesto is my middle name! I make it all the time so I gave up buying pine nuts long ago because of the cost. I love using walnuts as well — the flavor is more pronounced. This looks so delicious Katherine!

  8. Love this recipe! Pine nuts are SUPER expensive, which is why I am usually reluctant to make pesto at home. Using walnuts is a great alternative. Great photos too!! 🙂

  9. Thanks a lot Katherine…I was at a coffee shop, reading your post and I said PESTO, I did’nt think I said it out too loud, but when I looked around a few people were staring at me and the waiter asked me if I am okay.So now I look crazy. But it was fun looking at their confused faces😁.
    This recipe is amazing, pine nuts are waaaayyyy too expensive, so I love the walnut substitution. I love basil and have tons growing in the herb garden so this is a great recipe in which to use them. Love it!!!!!😃

    • Ashika, that is SO funny. I love that the waiter actually asked if you were ok. He probably thought you were saying a Harry Potter spell….haha!! Thank you so much for the laugh! I’m glad you agree on the pine nuts!! I hope you love this pesto as much as we do!! XO

  10. Great, great idea and I actually prefer walnuts to pine nuts, so rock on!! Looks delicious Katherine and this is so easy! I can’t wait to make it!!! 🙂 Have a great day!

  11. Haha! Now you have me thinking of Harry Potter!! I absolutely LOVE pesto and use it on a bunch of things too – like you, I really enjoy on sandwiches. Oh, and pizza and pasta and crostini. And you can’t beat those Costco sized bags of walnuts, can ya? The colour of this one looks so good and good choice with the walnuts over pine nuts 😉 Hope you are having a fabulous week, Katherine! xo

  12. I’m a true Costco-holic!!! My kids always joke around that I need to be on leash, whenever at Costco..😂😂 So, my home is pretty much stocked with all things from Costco (including all nuts). Jarred pesto is certainly convenient, but there is nothing like freshly processed pesto with in-season basil. Adding walnuts is such a creative, healthy yet practical twist to this classic. Love the photos as well. Hope your week is going great Kathy:)

  13. Now I’m craving some pasta covered in pesto! Perfect, simple summer meal. I hope I have enough basil to make a batch soon—love the idea of using walnuts. I seem to have those on hand a lot more than pine nuts 🙂

  14. Pine nuts are ridiculously expensive little suckers. Whenever I have to toast some pine nuts for a recipe, I can’t help but snack on them, but then I remember they cost about $120 a pound so I have to stop. lol! Guess I need to switch to walnuts and make this some chicken pesto pasta over the weekend. Thanks for saving me money Katherine 😉

    • Hahah, I know. I guard my pine nuts from the other nut/seed munchers around the house. I might even cry a little if I drop one and can’t find it. So expensive!!! Chicken pesto pasta sounds just terrific. Have a great weekend Karrie!!

  15. One of my favorite things to make with all the basil in my friend’s garden! Your recipe looks delicious Katherine! I just want to grab a spoonful and spread it on my sandwich, and just about everything else!

  16. What a gorgeous green color!! I have never bothered to make my own Pesto ever! It’s so convenient to buy! But reading this recipe, I am tempted to try this with walnuts at home :). I am sure walnuts taste amazing with basil.. and they are always lying around the house too!!

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