Fresh Basil Walnut Pesto can be made in 10 minutes with just 5 ingredients - Fresh basil leaves, walnuts, garlic, romano (or parmesan) and olive oil.
Along with the awesome warm weather come fresh fruits, veggies and herbs. Whenever I visit Trader Joe's there are so many basil plants for sale before even entering the store. I cannot stop myself and buy them on each visit. Not a problem, as we also love pesto!
If I had to choose one sauce that I could have for eternity on pasta, it would definitely be pesto. What I love is that you can create so many variations. Don't have pine nuts for the classic pesto or they are too expensive, use walnuts or almonds. Traditionally parmesan cheese is used in pesto. However we love to use romano in place of parmesan in many recipes. Want to add some more greens, add parsley or cilantro, or spinach or even kale. You get the idea, adjust and change the recipe to your taste. Or better yet, make a different flavor each time.
How to make Basil Walnut Pesto?
You can make pesto in a food processor or in a blender such as Vitamix. This time I made a small amount, so the mini food processor was perfect for it.
Collect all the ingredients and just 5 more minutes to have pesto ready. You could be boiling your favorite pasta while making the pesto...just saying, less time to wait before you enjoy it 😉
Add basil and walnut to a food process or another blender such as a Vitamix.
Pulse several times to break them down.
Add the cheese, garlic and pulse again.
Now while keeping the food processor running, add olive oil in a slow stream. Add in salt and pepper. Taste and adjust.
That is all! Basil Walnut Pesto is ready to be enjoyed.
You will notice that I keep my pesto a bit coarse. Totally your choice if you want to make it completely smooth.
How can I store Pesto?
Pesto is best used fresh or frozen (see next section). To store pesto in a refrigerator, keep in an air tight container and add a thin layer of olive oil on top. This will prevent pesto from coming in touch with air and it will not turn brown. It can stay good up to a week.
Does pesto freeze well?
Yes! Just omit the cheese (which does not freeze well) and store in ice cube trays, so you can remove the amount needed at a time. When you are ready to use, you can defrost the pesto and stir in finely grated romano or parmesan cheese.
What are some ways to use Pesto?
- The most obvious way is to top on pasta. As a variation I like to add some heavy cream to the pesto to make a creamy pesto pasta.
- Apply as a spread on a sandwich. Mix with mayonnaise to make a pesto mayo spread.
- Spread it on toasted bread and make a pesto caperese toast.
- Mix in with cheese and sour cream to make a dip. Enjoy with crackers.
- Slather over chicken or salmon and bake them.
- Make a pesto pizza (my absolute favorite)
Basil Walnut Pesto
- Place the basil leaves and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to break them down.
- Add garlic, cheese and pulse again until they are all mixed. Scrape the sides if needed.
- In a steady stream add olive oil and pulse until it is blended with the ingredients.
- Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped on pasta or as a spread on sandwiches.
- Use immediately or store in an air tight jar to retain freshness. If you plan to store for longer, add more olive oil on the top so the pesto is not exposed to any air.
- Walnuts can be replaced with pine nuts or almonds.
- For variation, you can add parsley or cilantro or spinach or kale to this recipe, along with basil.
- Another great addition to pesto is lime juice. So add a squeeze to your taste.
- To store pesto in a refrigerator, keep in an air tight container and add a thin layer of olive oil on top.
- To freeze, omit the cheese (which does not freeze well) and store in ice cube trays, so you can remove the amount needed at a time.
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.