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Homemade Easy Basil Walnut Pesto

Stashing containers summer’s pesto is the most squirrel-like getting-ready-for-winter thing I do. When fresh basil is garden plentiful, I pull out the food processor and whip up a batch. This pesto freezes beautifully, so that’s where I keep it. All winter long, when I want pesto for pasta or pizza, there’s a ready stash of easy basil walnut pesto!

Easy Basil Walnut Pesto | Letty's Kitchen

Using a food processor, this pesto is quick to make–the work is in stripping the basil leaves off the stems. The garlic is super-easy to mince–begin your pesto by dropping whole garlic cloves in the work bowl while the processor is running and the blade is spinning. When the garlic stops hitting the sides of the processor bowl, it’s perfecty minced!

Compared to many other pesto recipes, this easy basil walnut pesto has less olive oil–more basil bang for the buck. Not that extra virgin olive oil is a bad thing!

You will love the flavor and budget-wise variation with walnuts and Pecorino Romano cheese in place of the more expensive pine nuts and Parmesan cheese called for in classic Italian Genovese pesto.

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Basil walnut pesto is a quick and easy pasta sauce for sure. You’ll also love the extra flavor a dollop of pesto add to lots of other dishes. Basil pesto serves as an easy way to add fresh herbs and garlic to soups or anything that benefits from such a bump, like sauteed leafy greens.

Basil pesto is delicious spread on pizza dough–the beginnings of fabulous homemade pizza, like this homemade pesto potato pizza. Any time of year, a dollop of garlicky basil walnut pesto brings summer punch to so many recipes.

ingredients for Easy Basil Walnut Pesto

Purists be appalled, but any flavor or texture nuance lost by not using the traditional mortar and pestle is more than made up for with time saved by making it with the food processor.

You say stripping all the leaves still seems like a lot of work, and why not buy the pesto at Costco. To me, that’s like saying dried parsley is an adequate substitute for the fresh leaf. There is nothing like homemade easy basil walnut pesto, fresh, or frozen stash.

 Easy Basil Walnut Pesto ready for processing in Cuisinart food processor

Whenever I make up a full batch of the emerald opulence, we gorge ourselves on pasta with pesto. There is no match for freshly made basil walnut pesto. What doesn’t go on the pasta that day, goes in jars, and into the freezer, for another day.

You might also like this Garlic Scape and Mess o’ Greens Pesto. Or these Caprese Veggie Patties with Basil Arugula Pesto.

Make it a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and enjoy yourself!

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5 from 1 vote
Basil Walnut Pesto
Homemade Basil Walnut Pesto
Prep Time
10 mins
 

Make in a Cuisinart ood processor, this is my favorite basil pesto recipe ever. With walnuts for rich flavor, plenty of garlic, and less olive oil than many recipes. Freezes beautifully. Makes about 1 cup pesto. Vegetarian and gluten free.

Course: Appetizer, Component, Condiment
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: basil, walnut, pesto
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Letty Flatt
Ingredients
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 3 ounces Pecorino romano cheese grated, about 3/4 cup (see note)
  • 2 cups tightly packed , stemmed fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (or pine nuts to be extravagant)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. With the motor of the food processor running, mince the garlic by dropping it through the feed tube. Process until it is very fine and it no longer makes noise as it hits the side of the bowl.
  2. Add the cheese, basil, walnuts and salt. Process for about 10 seconds, stopping to move things around if they get hung up.
  3. With the machine running, pour oil through the feed tube in a thin stream, processing until everything is well blended.
Recipe Notes
  • Don’t even think of using that sawdust in the green can they call parmesan!
  • Add the ingredients in the order directed for efficient use of the food processor.
  • Scrape the pesto into small containers immediately and freeze. To use in winter, thaw the pesto only enough so you can scrape out what you'll use.
Easy homemade basil walnut pesto made with fresh basil, Pecorino Romano cheese, garlic and walnuts. Reduced olive oil. Excellent on pizza and pasta and as flavoring for minestrone soup.

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