Learn how to make homemade Pesto Without Pine Nuts for all your Italian dishes! Whip up an authentic Italian pesto with easily available ingredients. This recipe is simple, easy, and ready in minutes.
Every summer, I have basil plants growing and plenty of basil leaves. I love making basil pesto with the harvest and I realize that I don't have a recipe here.
Traditional basil pesto uses pine nuts but they're expensive and can be hard to find. This recipe uses walnuts instead and not only it tastes incredible but also fits perfectly into your budget.
This versatile sauce can be used on pasta (my favorite way to use it!)like this pesto orzo salad, slathered on a sandwich, or a great way to flavor your proteins. Pesto chicken anyone? Be sure to pair this with my Air Fryer Ravioli for a fun dipping sauce.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe:
Here are a few reasons why you'll love this homemade basil pesto:
- Cost-Effective: Pine nuts are pricey. By swapping them out for walnuts, we're saving our pennies without skimping on flavor.
- Easy Availability: Walnuts and other simple ingredients are readily available in most supermarkets, making this recipe a breeze.
- Versatility: This pesto is a real chameleon in the kitchen! It can dress up pasta, elevate a sandwich, or add a punch of flavor to a simple salad.
- Simplicity: With just a few ingredients and a whirl in the food processor or a blender, this homemade pesto recipe is ready in no time!
- Taste: Last but certainly not least, our walnut pesto is just plain delicious. It's light, fresh, and packed full of flavor - we're sure you'll love it as much as we do
Here is all you'll need to make this delicious homemade pesto.
*Scroll down to the recipe card for measurements.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Parmesan cheese or pecorino romano
- Garlic cloves
- Lemon juice
- Salt and black pepper
How to Make Homemade Pesto Without Pine Nuts
*Scroll below for the printable recipe card and ingredient measurements.
Clean: Clean and wash the basil and parsley. Shake off any excess water.
Toast: Gently toast the walnuts in a pan to slightly brown them and release some of the flavorings.
Blend: Add all the ingredients, minus the oil, into the food processor and blend. Slowly add in the olive oil and blend until you get a creamy texture.
- Use fresh ingredients: use fresh basil leaves and parsley if possible.
- Roast the nuts: Try gently toasting the nuts first. This brings out their deep, nutty flavor.
- Balance the flavors: Without the distinctive taste of pine nuts, you might want to play around with your ingredients a bit. Perhaps add a little extra garlic or an extra sprinkle of parmesan or a dash of lemon juice to keep things flavorful.
- Process until smooth: When using different nuts, they may take a bit longer to process into a smooth consistency. Just be patient and let your food processor or blender work its magic.
How To Use Pesto
There isn't a wrong way to use and serve basil pesto. Here are some of my favorites:
- Pasta: The classic! Toss your hot pasta directly in some pesto, and voila! You've got a quick, delicious meal.
- Sandwich Spread: Replace your usual mayo or butter with some fresh pesto. It'll take your sandwich game to new heights, trust me.
- Dressing: Mix some pesto with a bit of vinegar and use it as a refreshing, flavorful salad dressing.
- Marinade: Marinate your proteins: chicken or fish in your pesto. The flavors will soak in, ensuring a mouthwatering meal.
- Pizza Sauce: Swapping your traditional tomato sauce for pesto on a homemade pizza can be a game changer.
- Roasted Veggies: Toss your veggies in pesto before roasting them. You'll end up with the most flavorful veggies ever.
How To Store And Freeze Your Homemade Pesto
Simply transfer the leftover pesto into an airtight container and drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on top to prevent it from discoloring. Then, secure the lid and pop it into the refrigerator. Your pesto will keep fresh for about one week.
If you need it to last longer, no worries! Pesto freezes beautifully. Spoon your pesto into ice cube trays, freeze until solid, then transfer the pesto cubes into a freezer bag and stash them in the freezer.
This way, your flavorsome pesto will stay fresh for up to 6 months and you can use it portion by portion, whenever you need a burst of flavor in your dishes!
Your Questions Answered
You can use pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, or pistachios.
You can substitute other herbs and greens like spinach or arugula.
As long as you leave out the added cheese, this would be a great option for vegans to enjoy. This would also make this into a dairy-free pesto sauce.
Instead of cheese, you can add nutritional yeast to the pesto or avoid it completely.
You can omit the nuts completely and use sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or hemp seeds instead. You might want to avoid the jarred pesto from the grocery store as they contain nuts.
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If you make this recipe don't forget to leave a comment and rating below. We love to hear from you!
Homemade Pesto Without Pine Nuts
- Food Processor
- 3 cups basil packed
- 1 cup parsley packed
- 2 cloves garlic
- ⅓ cup walnuts
- ½ cup olive oil extra virgin
- ½ cup parmesan finely grated
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Begin by thoroughly rinsing and drying your fresh basil and parsley to remove any dirt.
- Toast the walnuts gently in a pan over medium heat. This is totally optional but adds flavor.
- Into the bowl of a food processor, add basil and parsley, toasted walnuts, garlic cloves, finely grated parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and lemon juice.
- With the food processor running, slowly pour in the extra virgin olive oil.
- Process the mixture until you achieve the consistency you prefer. You can have the pesto a bit chunkier or process a bit more until it's nice and smooth.