Homemade basil walnut pesto recipe makes a bright and zesty herb sauce in just 10 minutes. This herbaceous green sauce brightens up any pasta, pizza or salads. Pesto is my favorite condiment and I love to keep it on hand to instantly perk up ordinary meals.
This pesto with walnuts recipe is perfect when you have fresh basil abundantly growing in summer kitchen gardens. Similar to Instant Pot Tomato Sauce, this homesteading recipe can be made in bulk and stored to be used throughout the year.
Classic basil pesto is made with fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper. However, pine nuts are super expensive and can be easily substituted.
So, I developed this Pesto Without Pine Nuts recipe so you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy this delightful sauce.
Few simple ingredients make this wonderfully bright, nutty, and delicious sauce.
- Basil : Fresh basil leaves make the bright and delightful sauce. I prefer Italian basil for this recipe.
- Walnuts : Add wonderful earthy taste and creamy texture.
- Olive Oil : Helps make smooth and creamy sauce.
- Garlic : Optional but highly recommend it. It adds a nice zesty taste.
- Parmesan Cheese : To add a depth of texture and creaminess.
- Lemon Juice : it further brightens the flavor and perfectly balances the taste.
See recipe card for quantities.
This Basil pesto without pine nuts is slight deviation from traditional classic pesto. There are all sorts of tasty ways to change it up. Here are some ideas
- Nuts – Almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios or even peanuts can be used instead of walnuts or pine nuts.
- Seeds – Want to make nut free pesto? You can use sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds instead of any nuts to make this nut-free pesto recipe.
- Vegan – Skip the Parmesan cheese and substitute nutritional yeast or plant based vegan cheese to make this recipe suitable of vegan. I have made Diary free pesto numerous times and it’s just as amazing.
There are numerous variation and ideas to make this classic version into your own artisan creation. Here are some additional ideas
- Spicy – add chili pepper flakes or smoked paprika for a touch of bold spicy flavor.
- Cheese – Pecorino Romano , asiago or combination of these cheese can be used for more intense cheese flavors.
- Herbs and greens : You can use variety of different greens and herbs including kale leaves, arugula, spinach, carrot tops, radish greens or lettuce in addition to basil. You can also make mixed herb pesto by combining parsley, cilantro or mint along with basil.
- Umami : Add couple of olives or capers to amp up the umami flavor. Sun dried tomatoes also work wonderfully.
Place the basil leaves, garlic, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and walnuts into the bowl of a food processor or blender and pulse several times.
Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. You should have coarsely ground bits and pieces of the ingredients.
While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil. Adding the olive oil slowly while the processor is running will help it emulsify. You may have to stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor a few times.
Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Transfer it in a bowl and use as needed.
Helpful Hint : Basil leaves darken when exposed to air. Adding some lemon juice or vinegar helps retain their green color. Also store the prepared pesto in air tight container so it is not exposed to air.
Besides this basil pesto, we also love pesto with beet root in this Beet Pesto Pasta. This rich and savory pasta is our family favorite.
Homemade Pesto is my favorite condiment to use in variety of different dishes. Noodles and Things copycat Penne Pesto Primavera is our household favorite pasta dinner. We also love Pesto Naan Pizza for quick and easy meal. Red Lentil Pesto Sedanini is marvelous one pot protein rich vegan meal.
Freshly made basil pesto can be stored in refrigerator for up to a week. I prefer to use a Mason glass bottles for storage.
Freeze : I love to make a big batch and freeze pesto for later uses. Especially towards the end of the summer months, I use up all garden bounty and make a pesto for freezing.
Adding a Tablespoon of white vinegar to this basil walnut pesto recipe helps it retain bright green color and preserve it longer.
Pesto is creamy green condiment made from fresh basil, garlic, nuts, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. It originated in Genoa, Italy. So it is called Pesto alla Genoese or pesto from Genoa.
It can be served both warm or cold. Depending upon which dish you are serving it with. As a pasta sauce or pizza topping, you can serve it warm. On salads and sandwiches, you can serve it cold.
Related Pasta Dishes to Consider
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Pesto Without Pine Nuts
- Silicon Ice Cube Trays for freezing the sauce in individual portions
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup walnuts
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1-2 small garlic cloves
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- In a food processor, combine the fresh basil leaves, walnuts, parmesan cheese, lemon juice and garlic. Pulse until well blended.
- Open the lid and scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula a few times
- With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil and pulse until combined. Add salt and pepper, and pulse to briefly combine.
- Transfer the prepared pesto in glass container and use as needed.
- I highly recommend to use silicon ice cube trays to freeze the pesto. It’s easy to store, comes in handy for individual servings and saves freezer space.
- Simply fill each cube with prepared pesto sauce. Freeze it overnight. Remove from the ice tray and store in a freezer safe, zipper bag. When you want to use it, defrost it and use as needed.