Walnut Pesto

bright green pesto made with basil, spinach, and walnuts

These days, pesto is a simple staple sauce that lives on the shelves of most grocery stores. This pungent condiment goes great on everything—slathered over chicken, right on top of fish, and especially mixed into pasta or rice dishes. And despite its convenience, store-bought pesto tends to be expensive and lacks the vibrancy of the homemade stuff. Here we have a riff on pesto that employs walnuts instead of more traditional pine nuts. To keep our pesto vibrant green, we blanch a mix of basil and parsley (which contains more chlorophyll), locking in the color and resulting in a pesto that stays green longer. Toasting walnuts gives our pesto an earthier, buttery flavor, while a healthy dose of pepper reinforces the pungency of basil. The resulting pesto is bold green, packs a punch, and goes great with everything—though we might just as well eat it by the spoonful.

Walnut Pesto

bright green pesto made with basil, spinach, and walnuts
Serves Makes about 1 cup
  • 1 cup packed parsley
  • 1 cup packed basil
  • Salt
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup (½ ounce) parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Fill medium bowl with ice water. Bring 2 quarts water to boil in large saucepan over high heat; add parsley, basil, and ½ teaspoon salt, return to boil, and cook until herbs are bright green and wilted, about 45 seconds. Drain herbs in fine mesh strainer and transfer immediately to ice water. When herbs no longer feel warm to touch, drain in strainer again and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Transfer herbs to bowl of food processor (break up herbs with fingers to distribute evenly).
  2. Add walnuts, parmesan, garlic, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to food processor and pulse until finely ground, about 20 pulses. With processor running, add oil in steady stream until mixture is smooth and combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer pesto to airtight container until ready to use (pesto can be stored in refrigerator for up to one week).

Nutrition facts:

1/4 cup 325 calories 4 grams of protein 4 grams of carbohydrates 1 grams of fiber 195 milligrams of sodium 167 milligrams of potassium 35 grams of fat ( 5 grams of saturated fat 21 grams of monounsaturated fat 7 grams of polyunsaturated fat ) 5 milligrams of cholesterol

Recipes featuring Walnut Pesto

farro risotto made with walnut pesto

Farro Risotto with Walnut Pesto

Risotto is typically made with rice, but there are plenty of grains you can use. Here’s one example that pairs farro with this earthy walnut pesto.
Get the recipe.

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