10 minutes

Walnut Basil Pesto

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.

A close up view of creamy basil pesto without pine nuts.

Ingredients

Ingredients for pesto without pine nuts on a marble background, including basil, walnuts, parmesa, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

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!
  • Garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese: You want to grate your own fresh Parmesan for pesto!
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

Step One: Add basil, walnuts and garlic to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until everything is finely minced.

The inside of a food processor containing basil, walnuts and garlic on a marble background.

Step Two: Add Parmesan cheese to the food processor and pulse again until the cheese is combined.

The inside of a food processor containing blended walnuts and bail, topped with shredded parmesan.

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.

The inside of a food processor containing creamy basil pesto without pine nuts.

Storage

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!

A small white bowl of basil pesto without pine nuts, with basil, walnuts and cheese to the side.

Walnut Basil Pesto

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.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 197 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

Top Tip: Make sure to grate your own fresh Parmesan for pesto. The pre-grated options will not have the same great flavor or texture. 
Substitutions: Pistacchios, almonds and cashews are all great substitutes for walnuts in this recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 197kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 3gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 110mgPotassium: 62mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.2gVitamin A: 372IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 73mgIron: 1mg
Keyword pesto, summer basil, walnut pesto
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