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My favourite homemade pesto recipe! This pesto is made with walnuts instead of pine nuts, which makes it a little easier on your wallet too. This walnut basil pesto is easy AND delicious!

walnut basil pesto

*Please note* This post has been updated as of September, 2019. The recipe and photos remain the same.

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

Do you have to use pine nuts in 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.

What is pesto made of?

Such simple ingredients! Basil leaves (or other greens), olive oil, and some nuts. Typically 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.

How long does homemade pesto last?

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).

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).

walnut basil pesto

I think this pesto would go so good with a few of these dishes:

Or this creamy pumpkin seed pesto pasta from Crumb Top Baking!

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walnut basil pesto

Walnut Basil Pesto

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  • Author: Katherine
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x


My favourite homemade pesto recipe! This pesto is made with walnuts instead of pine nuts, which makes it a little easier on your wallet too. This walnut basil pesto is easy AND delicious!


  • 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


  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.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
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About Katherine

Heeey! Thank you for stopping by! I like 30-minute dinners and giant peanut butter cups made with only 3 ingredients. I LOVE food! If you do too, you're in the right place.

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  1. 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

    1. Hahah, sorry. But not really, because Harry Potter is the bomb. I’m glad we’re on the same pesto page! I love Costco’s giant bag of nuts!!! Have a great weekend Dawn!!

  2. 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:)

    1. Your kids sound hilarious. I should also have a leash at Costco – if you’re like me, you probably end up spending way more than you anticipated!! I’m so glad you like the recipe, Maria. Have a terrific weekend!!

  3. 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 🙂

    1. Pasta with pesto is SOO good. It’s one of my go-to meals when I’m not sure what to feed my family!! I hope your basil will grow for you soon!! Have a great weekend Liz!

  4. 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 😉

    1. 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!!

  5. 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!

    1. Thank you Mary Ann!! It’s soooo good on sandwich, I love to layer it on thick!! You’re lucky to have a friend that lends out basil!! Have a great weekend!!

  6. 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!!

    1. I love the green too!! Oh you definitely need to try it. It’s so easy!! You might never go back! Thank you Deepika!!