Basil Walnut Pesto

4.72 from 14 votes

Learn to make the best homemade Basil Walnut Pesto in under 10 minutes using simple ingredients. This versatile Italian sauce can be used to make pasta, pizza, chicken, fish, or veggies.

Do try my other pesto recipes – Avocado Basil Pesto, Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, and Basil Mint Pesto.

Basil walnut pesto served in a bowl.
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About Basil Walnut Pesto

Basil Walnut Pesto is a variation of the classic Italian pesto sauce. It comes together in under 10 minutes using simple ingredients like fresh basil leaves, parmesan cheese, walnuts, and extra virgin olive oil.

Basil and walnut pesto is very fragrant and has a nutty and slightly sweet taste.

The main difference between basil and walnut pesto and classic basil pesto is the type of nuts used. Traditional pesto uses pine nuts, while basil and walnut pesto recipe use walnuts instead of pine nuts. Walnut basil pesto is also generally lighter in color than classic pesto.

This versatile sauce can be used in a multitude of ways. So waste no time and make yourself a batch.

This homemade basil walnut pesto recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free. My recipe will give you approximately 1 cup of pesto. You can easily double or triple the recipe.

Ingredients

Basil Leaves – Basil leaves make the base of this sauce. This is best made using sweet basil (Italian basil). Use fresh leaves that are free of cuts and bruises.

I like to get my basil from a farmer’s market, which is the freshest and most organic.

Walnuts – Ensure they are not bitter before using them in the recipe. Walnuts are prone to turning bitter if stored for a long time. The best way to store walnuts is in the refrigerator.

Others – You will also need garlic, salt, pepper, freshly squeezed lemon juice, grated parmesan cheese, and extra virgin olive oil.

The best cheese to make pesto is Parmigiano Reggiano. Make sure to freshly grate the cheese for the best flavor.

Lemon juice can be replaced with lime juice.

How To Make Basil Walnut Pesto

Preparation

Pick the Italian basil leaves from the stem and discard the stems. Now, fill a large bowl with water and add the basil leaves. Swish the leaves vigorously to dislodge the dust or any chemicals clinging to them. Leave the leaves undisturbed for 30-40 seconds for the dust to settle. Now, gently remove the leaves from the top of the bowl and add them to a salad spinner. Spin until the leaves are dry.

Make The Pesto Sauce

Add the following ingredients to the jar of a small food processor.

  • 2 cups of fresh Italian basil leaves (packed, rinsed, and dried)
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
All the ingredients except some olive oil added to a food processor.

Blend until a finely chopped mixture forms.

Chopped mixture formed.

While the food processor is running, drizzle the remaining olive oil until a slightly coarse sauce is formed. Add additional olive oil if needed for desired consistency.

Drizzling olive oil from the spout.

Scrape the sides of the jar a few times while blending.

Taste test for salt and add more if required. Pesto is ready to use!

Ready basil walnut pesto.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use other nuts in the basil and walnut pesto recipe?

Yes, you can use other types of nuts in pesto. Some other common options include almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, and pistachios.

What else can be added to walnut basil pesto?

Seeds like flax seeds, sunflower seeds, melon seeds, hemp seeds, etc.
Greens like baby spinach, arugula, carrot greens, and kale.
Lemon zest.
Red pepper flakes.
Other cheeses include pecorino romano, aged cheddar, aged Asiago, and aged manchego.

Can I use other herbs in homemade basil pesto?

Yes, you can use other fresh herbs instead of basil to make pesto. Some other common options include cilantro, Italian parsley, and mint.

How do I make vegan basil and walnut pesto?

Skip adding parmesan cheese or replace it with vegan cheese or nutritional yeast to make a vegan pesto recipe.

Pro Tips By Neha

Use the best quality ingredients to make this green sauce.

Never make basil pesto sauce in a blender or a mixie. It will become paste-like. The correct texture of the pesto is slightly coarse.

In the olden days, people made it in a mortar and pestle or chopped the ingredients finely using a sharp knife.

Toast the walnuts lightly and use roasted garlic for a more complex flavor.

To make a spicy version of this delicious pesto, add red pepper flakes, chopped jalapeno pepper, or any other chilies.

Usage Ideas

  • Add it to your favorite pasta dishes
  • Use it as a dipping sauce
  • Spread it on sandwiches or wraps
  • Mix it into salads
  • Add it to soup or chili
  • Use it as a pizza topping
  • Make pesto chicken or fish
  • Drizzle over roasted vegetables.

Storage Suggestions

Fresh basil walnut pesto can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Cover the surface of the pesto with a thin layer of olive oil to keep its bright green color intact.

You can also freeze the homemade pesto sauce for longer storage. Place the leftover pesto in silicon ice cube trays or freezer-safe containers when freezing. Then, transfer the pesto cubes to ziplock bags or a freezer bag.

I always like to make a large batch and freeze it this way.

To use, thaw the pesto in the fridge and then add it to your dish.

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Learn to make the best homemade Basil Walnut Pesto in under 10 minutes using simple ingredients. Use this versatile Italian sauce to make pasta, pizza, chicken, fish, or veggies (vegetarian, gluten-free).
4.72 from 14 votes

Basil Walnut Pesto Recipe

Learn to make the best homemade Basil And Walnut Pesto in under 10 minutes using simple ingredients. Use this versatile Italian sauce to make pasta, pizza, chicken, fish, or veggies.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups fresh Italian basil leaves (packed, rinsed and dried)
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (divided, plus more if needed)
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Instructions 

  • Add basil leaves, walnuts, garlic, salt, black pepper, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoon olive oil to the jar of a small food processor.
  • Blend until a finely chopped mixture forms.
  • While the food processor is running, begin drizzling the remaining olive oil until a slightly coarse sauce is formed. Add additional olive oil if needed for desired consistency.
  • Scrape the sides of the jar a few times while blending.
  • Taste test for salt and add more if required.
  • Pesto is ready to use immediately, otherwise, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. You may want to cover with a thin layer of olive oil or plastic wrap to prevent oxidation.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Make sure the walnuts are not bitter before using them in the recipe. Walnuts are prone to turning bitter if stored for a long time.
Never make pesto in a blender or a mixie. It will become paste-like. The correct texture of the pesto is slightly coarse. 
Toast the walnuts lightly and use roasted garlic for a more complex flavor.
To make a spicy version of pesto, add red pepper flakes, chopped jalapeno pepper, or any other chilies.

Nutrition

Calories: 133kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Sodium: 268mg, Potassium: 60mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 460IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 59mg, Iron: 1mg
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Recipe Rating




12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this with Cellentani pasta for lunch today, it was so good! I didn’t have fresh parmesan so used 4C grated all natural. The best I’ve ever made! Thank you

  2. 5 stars
    Dear Neha, the pesto tastes so good. I added parmigiano reggiano because that is what I had. I made it in the food processor, the texture is definitely better. Will try your other sauce recipes also.

  3. 5 stars
    Super delicious, thank you!
    I did have to substitute in Romano cheese because it is sheep milk. Sadly, I am allergic to cow milk cheese. But the pesto turned out wonderful!

  4. Awesome recipe. Followed the recipe and it turned out wonderfully. Had 6 batches, and I froze most of them in small containers topped off with olive oil. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  5. 4 stars
    Thank you for the wonderful recipes….but if we don’t get parmesan cheese…than which chesse we can use it in that place? ????please help.