Basil walnut pesto is a delicious sauce to make a variety of pasta dishes! It combines fresh basil leaves, walnuts, olive oil, garlic, and parmesan cheese to create a creamy and flavorful sauce.
This basil walnut pesto is a recipe that I always come back to whenever I crave delicious pasta. The reason is that this recipe is very simple, it only requires very basic ingredients that you can keep on hand, and it is super flavorful! I often use this pesto to make my favorite pesto spaghetti salad for dinner. It’s really good!
To make this basil walnut pesto you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Fresh basil leaves: Fresh basil leaves are key to making a delicious pesto! If you want to substitute it, you can use other green herbs like parsley or cilantro (keep in mind that this will change the flavor of the pesto). But don’t substitute fresh basil with dried basil. It simply doesn’t taste as great and if you take the time to whip up a pesto, you should definitely go for the real deal!
- Walnuts: Nuts are another key element of a delicious and creamy pesto. Simply use regular walnuts for this basil walnut pesto.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil makes a pesto creamy and smooth. Since it is an absolute must in pesto, I recommend buying a bottle of olive oil before you make this recipe.
- Parmesan cheese: When you buy parmesan cheese, please look for Parmigiano Reggiano. It’s authentic parmesan cheese that simply tastes amazing! And always keep some on hand if you love to make pasta dishes. It just tastes so good.
- Lemon juice: You only need a little bit of lemon juice to brighten the flavor of this basil walnut pesto.
How to make basil walnut pesto
Making a basil pesto is super simple! Just follow these easy steps:
- Prepare the ingredients: Wash the basil leaves, peel the garlic cloves, juice the lemon, and grate the parmesan cheese.
- Blend: Then add all of the ingredients to your food processor and blend until the pesto is creamy. If you need more olive oil, pour it through the feed tube until the pesto has the right consistency.
I love this basil walnut pesto recipe as it is but there are a few things you can try to switch things up or to adjust the recipe to your taste.
- More olive oil and parmesan: Since I like to create light and healthy recipes that are still delicious, I used less olive oil and parmesan cheese than some classic basil pesto recipes would. Let me tell you, this pesto tastes amazing as it is. But if you want it creamier or more cheesy, simply add more parmesan cheese or olive oil.
- Greens: You can definitely substitute the fresh basil with other greens or combine them to create a pesto to your taste! Favorites of mine are cilantro, parsley, baby spinach, and arugula. Just feel free to go for what you love most!
- Nuts: Walnuts are definitely one of my favorite nuts to use for basil pesto. But if you prefer a more classic version of basil pesto, you can use pine nuts instead. And if you want to make pesto without pine nuts or walnuts, try to use pistachios! They are another great alternative.
- Spicy: I love spicy foods and recipes. So if you are like me and you love to make things a bit spicier, you can add red pepper flakes or a jalapeño pepper to the pesto.
How to use basil pesto
Don’t know how to use this basil walnut pesto? Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy this delicious sauce.
- Pasta: You can create so many different pasta dishes with pesto! I love and absolutely recommend making this pesto spaghetti salad with salmon or this delicious pasta salad with roasted vegetables. Pesto pasta salads simply taste amazing!
- Bread: Pesto actually makes for a super delicious spread! Just buy your favorite bread and use this basil walnut pesto as a spread. It’s the perfect appetizer or snack!
- Chicken and Salmon: You can also use this pesto by adding more olive oil to it and then drizzling it over baked chicken breasts or salmon fillets. Add an extra squeeze of lemon juice and enjoy!
Can you freeze basil pesto?
Yes, you can definitely freeze this basil walnut pesto! I like to freeze it using an ice cube tray. Simply thaw a pesto cube before you want to enjoy it.
And if you prefer to store the pesto in your refrigerator, add it to a sealed container and cover it with some olive oil to prevent it from browning. You can keep the pesto for up to a week in your refrigerator.
More delicious pasta sauces
If you love to make pasta sauces, you have to try the following recipes. They both taste amazing!
More healthy and easy pasta recipes
I simply love pasta! It is super easy to prepare, tastes great, and you can add a bunch of veggies to make a healthy pasta dish. Here are some of my favorite recipes you should give a try.
- Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
- Healthy Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
- Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo
Basil Walnut Pesto
- Food processor
- ½ cup walnuts
- 1 - 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice more to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add all ingredients to a food processor.
- Blend until the pesto is creamy. Serve with pasta and enjoy!
- Consistency: If you prefer an even creamier pesto, add more olive oil through the feed tube until the pesto has the right consistency.
- Parmesan: You can add more parmesan cheese if you want to. I love the recipe as it is, but some people prefer more cheese. So feel free to adjust the recipe to your taste!