Homemade Pesto with Walnuts is a delicious blend of basil, cheese, olive oil ,and toasted walnuts. Creating an affordable pesto with an authentic taste.
We are wrapping up yet another gardening year. So far I have harvested tomatoes packed them in oil and sun-dried the rest. The squash was placed into vacuum seal bags and frozen off. I have hung the herbs in the kitchen window. Dried the chamomile for winter tea and now we are finally at one of my very favorite things to make from the garden. Pesto.
Now traditionally pesto is made with pine nuts which you may already be aware of. They are not the cheapest thing you can buy so for me to enjoy making large batches without feeling like I have spent my savings. I use walnuts.
They work amazingly well for pesto and if you have never made pesto before, you are in for a treat. Fresh pesto is so vibrant and versatile and for whatever reason truly makes me feel all those summer feelings while I make this in my kitchen. It could be a smell, the deep green leaves on my counter, or just the taste. Possibly a combination of it all. I even love harvesting it. What a powerful scent it gives off as you pluck it from the earth. It’s all such a treat, isn’t it?
Why I Love This Recipe
This recipe is simple and makes for a great homemade pesto. I love making it as it is one of the best uses for homegrown basil. Nothing is worse to me than not using something from the garden and allowing it to go to waste. Each summer I try to make a few batches of this pesto to last me through the winter. Homemade Pesto with Walnuts freezes well and can be used in a wide array of recipes.
Ways to Use Pesto
Pasta: one of the most popular ways to use pesto is tossed into your favorite pasta. To make an over-the-top pasta dish, try tossing this Homemade Pesto with Walnuts into a batch of this Basic Egg Pasta. A dish is worthy of any fine Italian dining.
Poultry and Fish: Pesto is great for drizzling over grilled chicken and salmon or even shrimp. Adding a simple flavorful sauce.
Soups: One of the best ways in my opinion is to add a few tablespoons of pesto to soups. This adds an incredible depth of flavor. Be sure to check out this Creamy Tomato Pesto Soup to use your Homemade Pesto with Walnuts. I also love adding a bit to this Tortellini and Sausage Soup when I have it available.
Dips/Spreads: Homemade Pesto with Walnuts makes a great dip for things like cheese sticks, veggies, or shrimp. I like using it for spreads on sandwiches with lunch meats like roast beef or turkey. If you like to make paninis check out this Ham and Zucchini Panini.
What You Will Need To Make It
2 large bundles of basil (about 2 cups packed)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
Wash the basil and make sure to dry it before using. Toast the walnuts in a skillet to bring out their flavor and reduce the bitterness aspect. (optional).
Add the basil, cheese, lemon juice, walnuts, and salt into a food processor.
Place the lid on and turn the processor on.
Remove the pour spout to the lid and begin pouring in the olive oil.
Blend until well combined. Taste test and ensure there is enough salt to your liking. Add any additional salt needed.
When the pesto is ready transfer the pesto to a mason jar or freezer bag to store.
Can I freeze this pesto?
This pesto freezes very well. To freeze, I use Ziploc bags. If you do this, make sure to measure out the pesto before adding it to the bags. This way you can defrost the amount you need when needed. It’s important to push out all the extra air in the bag before placing them in the freezer.
To freeze smaller portions of pesto for adding to soups or sauces. Fill ice cube trays with the pesto and freeze. When ready, remove the frozen pesto cubes from the ice cube tray and place them into a freezer bag. Frozen pesto keeps for up to 6 months in the freezer.
Why walnuts over pine nuts?
The use of walnuts for this recipe is essentially just a more cost-effective way to make homemade pesto. If you prefer pine nuts you can swap out them for the walnuts in this recipe.
Can I use almonds instead of walnuts?
You can! I have a few people in my family that are allergic to walnuts so whenever bringing a pesto-based dish to family gatherings this is something to consider. For this, I have used almonds with great success. I do like to toast any kind of nut that I use in pesto to help bring out their flavors. So I suggest doing the same if swapping for the almonds and using the same amount as you would the walnuts.
How long does this pesto keep?
Homemade pesto will keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for about a week. To store longer, see above. When freezing the pesto will keep for up to 6 months in the freezer.
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- 2 large bundles of basil (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- Wash the basil and make sure to dry it before using.
- Toast the walnuts in a skillet to bring out their flavor and reduce the bitterness aspect. (optional).
- Add the basil, cheese, lemon juice, walnuts, and salt into a food processor.
- Place the lid on and turn the processor on. Remove the pour spout to the lid and begin pouring in the olive oil.
- Blend until well combined.
- Taste test and ensure there is enough salt to your liking.
- Add any additional salt needed. When the pesto is ready transfer the pesto to a mason jar or freezer bag to store.
Serving Size:1 tbsp
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 87Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 129mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g
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