Preserve your summer harvest with this delicious walnut basil pesto recipe. This is the perfect blend of sweet basil, rich walnuts, and tangy Parmesan, all in ten minutes or less.
Homemade pesto sauce just tastes like summer. Every year, I plant way too much basil in my garden. My August self, facing a countertop covered in fresh basil leaves, always tries to remember to plant a little less. If only she could convince my February self. Because every year, when February Danielle grabs a little ice cube of summer pesto out of the freezer and pops it into some mid-winter pasta, she is transported right back to those golden sunshine months, and basil regains its place of dominance in the garden plan.
This recipe could not be easier. With just a handful of ingredients and about 10 minutes of time, you will have the perfect summer sauce to add a little bit more delicious to nearly everything. I suggest you try it mixed with butter and drizzled over salmon for an amazing sheetpan supper, or use it to make a perfect pasta salad for your next barbecue. Double the recipe and freeze some for winter, your February self will thank you.
Gather up only a handful of ingredients for this recipe. As always, exact amounts are in the recipe card below!
- Walnuts: A great substitute for pine nuts in traditional pesto – readily available, less expensive, and delicious!
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Parmesan cheese: You want to grate your own fresh Parmesan for pesto!
- Fresh basil
- Salt and Pepper
Step One: Add basil, walnuts and garlic to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until everything is finely minced.
Step Two: Add Parmesan cheese to the food processor and pulse again until the cheese is combined.
Step Three: With the food processor running, stream in olive oil until pesto reaches a beautiful creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pesto freezes beautifully. You can freeze a larger amount of pesto in a glass canning jar. Put the pesto into the clean jar, and then drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on top to prevent the pesto from turning brown where it touches the air. Leave an inch or two of space at the top of the jar so the pesto can expand when it freezes.
I also love to freeze individual portions of pesto in an ice cube tray. This makes it super convenient to use in recipes in smaller amounts. Put the pesto in an ice cube tray and top each cube with a little olive oil. Place in the freezer. When frozen, remove the cubes and store them in an airtight freezer bag to enjoy all winter long!
Walnut Basil Pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup raw walnut halves
- 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- Add basil, walnuts and garlic to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until everything is finely minced.
- Add Parmesan cheese to the food processor and pulse again until the cheese is combined.
- With the food processor running, stream in olive oil until pesto reaches a beautiful creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.