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Aromatic with fresh basil leaves, pungent garlic, salty parmesan, and crunchy walnuts. Toss it into pasta, or smear it across warm crusty bread. The options of how to eat this uncooked walnut pesto sauce are endless…
As I mentioned above, this fresh-tasting sauce can go with many things like meats, veggies, or toast. For that reason, pestos are also very versatile to make. One could use cashews, pine nuts, pecans, pumpkins seeds instead of walnuts.
With that being said, if you don’t have any basil, take a new spin and use arugula, mint, spinach, or even dandelion greens. So yum!
What’s in Walnut Pesto?
I’m glad you asked :).
Extra virgin Olive oil—because we can potentially eat this sauce raw, you want to use the best olive oil you can find.
Basil—will give pesto its signature flavor and freshness.
Parmesan cheese—adds umami flavor and saltiness.
Garlic—because who doesn’t like garlic? It’s the best spice to use and they are no substitutions.
Lemon zest—the perfect pop of lemon flavor.
Lemon Juice—adds a bright citrus finish.
Salt and pepper
Tips for Making the Best Walnut Pesto Every Time.
Firstly, start with fresh unbruised basil leaves. Your pesto is only as good as the ingredients you use. As I mentioned before, use great quality and buttery olive oil, and none of that refined “light olive oil” stuff. Nope, not for this recipe.
Secondly, Grate the parmesan cheese right int the food process. Avoid just throwing in a block of cheese. You love your food processor, right? Love her back and help her out. Is your food processor a girl? Mine is.
Finally, process the ingredients on low. While it’s processing, slowly add the olive oil. If you desire a strong walnut flavor, toast them in the oven for 5 minutes in the oven set at 400°f before adding them into the processor.
I decided to make a small batch of pesto. This may or may not be achievable depending on the size of your machine. If you have a larger container, try doubling the recipe.
MMmmm… Yummy, cheesy, nutty goodness!
Don’t forget, this recipe makes 1 cup. Double the recipe if your food processor has a large base or depending on your food goals.
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Let’s make an epic Easy Walnut Pesto!
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 1 cup fresh basil no stems, lightly packed
- ⅓ cup parmesan cheese freshly grated and lightly packed
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- generous pinch of salt I used 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup extra virgin oil cold-pressed preferred
- Add the walnuts, basil leaves, grated parmesan cheese, garlic clove, lemon zest, salt, and pepper into the food processor, close the lid, and pulse a few times to break down larger pieces.
- Now that the pieces are smaller, process on low while pouring in the lemon juice. Once the lemon juice is added, next add the olive oil while it is still processing.
- Pause to scrape down the sides and catch any ingredients that failed to hit the blade.
- Continue processing until fairly smooth.
- Enjoy with warm pasta or store in a container with a lid and place into the fridge for up to 4 days.