Basil Pesto with Walnuts

My absolute go-to  pesto recipe with a delicious blend of basil, walnuts, garlic, lemon, olive oil and seasonings to make a creamy, rich basil pesto for a variety of dishes

Learning how to make  pesto is something we should all do. It's so easy and you know what are you eating.. While I have experimented over time with different pesto recipes, this basil pesto is the one I return to time and time again. It’s creamy and flavoursome and, with the addition of walnuts, it is wonderfully rich, too. 

Pesto is very versatile and you could use in so many ways, not just the typical ‘pesto pasta’ that this is good for – I also often have pesto spread on toast, as a pizza topping, to top up soups  or even as a salad dressing – just to name a few ideas. 

WHAT MAKES THIS PESTO RECIPE SO SPECIAL?

Pesto is made up of only a few ingredients – which is why they have to be chosen well as they all become an essential element within the dish. 

This walnut pesto uses one of the  healthiest oil in the world, extra virgin olive oil.  Research is continuing to come out showing us how beneficial to our health that extra virgin olive oil can be – this even includes improving heart health, brain health and much more. 

Extra virgin olive oil may actually be the healthiest fat that there is (with avocado oil boasting a similar nutritional profile).

When combined with basil – which is anti-inflammatory, helps detoxify the body, can promote a healthy gut and even benefits your skin; as well as Walnuts – which are a source of healthy fats, contain antioxidants and can improve blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol and even improve gut health, this leads to a delicious dairy-free, gluten-free,  basil pesto that has more health benefits than you might think. 

RECIPE

  • 3 cups of basil leaves

  • 3/4 cup of Walnuts

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 1 lemon (juice)

  •  sea salt and pepper

  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese

 

Steps:

Add the walnuts in a food processor/blender and blitz them to a crumb consistency. Next, add the garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper and the parmesan cheese, blitz again to obtain a paste. 

I know that different people like different levels of lemon juice and salt. I’ve included amounts for my favourite blend. However, feel free to season with salt, to taste and add in the lemon juice gradually, also to taste. I like strong flavour of lemon on my recipes.

Add the basil leaves and olive oil and blitz again. To make it runnier, you can add a bit more olive oil or some fresh water. And that is it – your pesto is ready to use on your favourite recipes.

If you do want to reduce the amount of olive oil in the recipe, then drizzle it in bit by bit and top up with water, as needed. Just note that this may affect the shelf life of the pesto. 

Storage tips:

This fresh pesto can be stored in the fridge for 5-7 days, within an air-tight container. I normally use jelly glass jars. I don't normally buy jars, I just reuse the ones that come with food.

 

However, it can also be frozen for up to six months. I love to freeze it in portions within large ice cube trays, so they’re nicely portioned and ready to use.