Easy Walnut Pesto (Small batch and large batch)

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!

how to make easy walnut pesto big batch or small batch

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 cheeseadds 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.

walnut pesto ingredients

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.

pesto in a food 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.

small batch walnut pesto in a food processor

MMmmm… Yummy, cheesy, nutty goodness!

light pesto recipe

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.

More Delicious Recipes You May Like:

Savory Heirloom Tomato Galette (thin crust)

Crispy Roasted Potatoes with Parmesan and Basil

Marinated tomatoes over Seasoned Greek Yogurt

Are you new to home cooking? Check out 30 Terms Every Home Cook Should Learn.

Let’s make an epic Easy Walnut Pesto!

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walnut pesto recipe small batch and large batch

Easy Walnut Pesto (Small batch and large batch)

  • Author: ashley
  • Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0-10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Aromatic pesto with fresh basil leaves, pungent garlic, salty parmesan, and crunchy walnuts. This recipe makes a small batch. If you desire a big batch double or triple the recipe amounts.



1/4 cup walnuts

1 cup fresh basil, no stems, lightly packed

1/3 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

1/3 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.


How long does this walnut pesto last? Up to 4 days in the fridge.

Can I use avocado oil instead? I would not recommend it.

What can I use Instead of parmesan cheese? Grana Padano or Pecorino would work well in this recipe. 

I used rennet-free parmesan cheese.

  • Category: sauces
  • Method: Food Processor
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: small batch walnut pesto, large batch walnut pesto, how to make walnut pesto

1 Comment

  1. Pesto is so amazing and goes well with many dishes. Our family loves it on a pizza, but my favy is pesto pasta. I never buy it from te store and always make homemade pesto. Gonna try this recipe too.

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