Basil Walnut Pesto is an interesting variation of a very popular sauce recipe called Pesto that is prominently used in the Italian cuisine. Traditionally Pine Nuts are used to make pesto but I have given it a slight variation by adding walnuts which are easily available. Here is how to make it.
Italian food, a good film/series on the TV and a glass of wine, that’s how I want my every weekend to be! Haha.
Well, who doesn’t love a big bowl of pasta with a freshly made sauce? I can never say no to it!
And therefore when I crave for good Italian food, I always make sure to make the sauce at home, instead of using the store-bought ones.
The taste of fresh pasta sauces is different altogether and flavor it brings to the main dish is delicious.
I make many sauces at home, but the latest one to join the bandwagon is this Basil Pesto With Walnuts.
You must have heard of the pesto, but the traditional one uses pine nuts.
Here, I have given it a little twist by adding ingredients that are easily available and tastes as delicious as the traditional one.
So, next time you are planning to make a Pasta, then definitely use this Basil Walnut Pesto.
I would assure you, that you will make it again and again.
What is Basil Walnut Pesto?
Pesto is an Italian sauce made using fresh basil leaves, parmesan cheese, pine nuts and a layer of olive oil.
This sauce can be used in many ways like making pasta, topping for chicken or fish, sandwich spread, open toast spread and marinade for grilling.
Since pine nuts are a little difficult to source in India, I substituted them with walnuts and came up with this delicious Pesto recipe.
As I love basil, I have prepared this Basil Pesto with Walnuts, but you can go ahead and experiment with flavors by adding spinach, arugula or kale along with basil to make your own variations.
This Basil Walnut Pesto is
- Easy to make
- Quick to make
- Can be made vegan by skipping adding parmesan cheese
This Pesto made with basil and walnuts can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week in an airtight container.
If you want to increase the shelf life of Basil and Walnut Pesto, you can freeze it.
Either freeze in an airtight container or in a freezer bag.
To freeze in freezer bags, firstly freeze the pesto in an ice cube tray.
Once frozen properly, freeze it in the freezer bags. It stays good for about 6 months.
Pro Tips by Neha
Use the freshest of basil and good cheese and olive oil to make the pesto.
Since it requires only a handful of ingredients, it’s very important to use the best.
Do not make pesto in a blender or a mixie. It will become paste-like.
The correct texture of the pesto is slightly coarse.
You can use your food processor to make it.
In fact, in olden days, people used to make it in a mortar and pestle or chop it using their knife until all the ingredients came together and then lastly added olive oil to the finely minced ingredients.
If Parmesan Cheese is not available, you can just skip it but do not add any other cheese.
You can experiment with various greens to make the pesto. Although Basil is traditionally used, arugula, kale, carrot greens, etc are great choices too.
You can also play around with the nuts of your choice.
Try adding almonds, pistachios, pine nuts instead of walnuts.
Traditionally pinenut was used to make pesto, but after experimenting with various nuts, I have realized that they give their own delicious flavor to the pesto.
Tools required to make Walnut Basil Pesto
You will need a good food processor to make pesto. Never try to make it in a blender.
How to use Basil Walnut Pesto?
Already tried and loved this recipe? Now wondering how to use it? Well, give a read to my Pesto loaded recipes such as:
One-Pot Pesto Chicken, Roasted Bell Pepper Basil Pesto Pasta, and in case you really love the recipes made from avocado then you must, must, and must try Creamy Avocado Pesto because it would turn out wonderful as well!
Use it to make Pasta or you can even make a Pesto Pizza using the sauce.
Use it to marinate the chicken, fish or prawn in grilled dishes.
You can also use it as salad dressing, an open toast spread or even as a sandwich or a roll spread.
I like to slather it on toasted bread and top with an egg for a yummy breakfast.
Top your hummus with some pesto for a change in flavour.
What can I use instead of basil in Pesto?
The base ingredient for pesto is basil which is a very mild herb.
By replacing the basil with any other herb will not make it pesto but any other dip.
You can replace half of the basil with baby spinach though, to keep the flavour of pesto intact.
What nuts are best for pesto?
Traditionally pine nuts are added in basil, but you can easily replace them with others like peanuts, almonds, cashew, macadamia, hazelnut, pistachios etc.
Even seeds like sunflower seeds or melon seeds will work great as the replacement.
Step by Step Recipe
Add basil leaves in the food processor.
Add the remaining ingredients.
Blend until everything comes together.
Basil Walnut Pesto Recipe
- 2 cups Basil Leaves
- ¼ cup Walnuts
- 3-4 Cloves Garlic
- Salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
- ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese (Grated)
- ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Plus more if needed)
- 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
- Add all the ingredients in the jar of a food processor and pulse to blend everything.
- Keep in mind to not make a paste of the ingredients.
- In between blending, keep scraping the sides of the blender using a spatula.
- Add some more olive oil if required while blending.
- It is best to use pesto freshly made but you can store it in an airtight container for up to 2 days.