Pesto makes a delicious and versatile accompaniment to so many dishes. Throw it on pizza, use it as a dip, add it to pasta, or try it as a marinade for your chicken - the possibilities with pesto seem nearly endless. Traditionally, pesto is made using pine nuts, but virtually any other nut can be used as a tasty substitute. We particularly love the nutty flavor of walnut pesto, which is packed with healthy omega-3s and a huge hit of antioxidants. Here’s how to make it.
How To Make Walnut Pesto
If you already have a recipe for traditional pine-nut pesto, then substituting walnuts for pine nuts gram for gram will work absolutely fine. If you aren’t working from a recipe, then here’s our version for you to try.
You Will Need:
- ½ a cup of walnuts
- ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1.5 cup of fresh basil
- 1 lemon, juiced, and zested (use the zest as a garnish)
- 1 cup of spinach
- ¼ cup of finely grated parmesan cheese
- Pinch of sea salt
How To Make Your Pesto Using A Food Processor
The good news about making pesto is that all of your ingredients can be added to a food processor. Simply add everything listed above to a food processor and blitz together in pulses until it reaches the texture you like.
How To Make Pesto Without A Food Processor
If you don’t have a food processor to hand, then don’t fear - you can still make this delicious pesto using a pestle and mortar.
- Start by chopping your garlic into small pieces and then grinding these in the pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt.
- Once you have a smooth-ish garlic paste, add in your basil, spinach, and lemon juice and crush the leaves until they are homogeneous with the garlic.
- Next, add in your walnuts, crushing them into small pieces, and toss in your grated parmesan cheese.
- As you grind your ingredients together with the pestle and mortar, add in small drizzles of olive oil to keep everything moving.
- Once your pesto reaches your desired consistency, give it a taste and adjust your seasoning with extra salt and lemon juice if needed.
Tips For Making The Perfect Walnut Pesto
Use High-Quality English Walnuts
For the best flavor and maximum nutritional value, always try to use high-quality English walnuts. Walnut pieces will work fine if you can’t find walnut halves.
Use Fresh Basil Leaves
Nothing beats the flavor of fresh basil. While bags of freshly chopped basil will work fine, if you like this recipe, then it may be worth buying a basil plant.
Omit The Cheese For A Vegan Alternative
If you’re dairy-free or vegan, then swap out the parmesan cheese in this recipe for a pinch of extra salt. Alternatively, try adding in a tablespoon of nutritional yeast.
Use High-Quality Olive Oil
While you can use any oil in this recipe, it undoubtedly tastes best when a high-quality cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil is used. High-quality olive oil is packed with heart-healthy fats and has a more distinct flavor than other oils such as vegetable oil.
Eat It While It’s Fresh
Although this pesto will store well in an airtight container for up to five days in the fridge, it tastes at its best when eaten fresh. After a few days, the basil and spinach may start to discolor.
So there you have it - now you know how to make a quick, easy and healthy walnut pesto in under five minutes! Want more ideas for what to do with your walnuts or curious to know more about the nut itself?