Walnut Basil Pesto
Walnut basil pesto is a wonderful twist on a classic pine nut pesto. And if you live in Northern California, like me, then Walnuts are actually a local product and all the more reason to use them. But even if you don’t, they are available year-round in any grocery store anywhere and are a healthy way to jazz up your pesto sauce. They actually give the pesto a heartier profile and more texture and are less expensive than pine nuts. Win-win. But don’t just take my word on it, try it! I use this pesto on everything from pasta to salmon to roast turkey sandwiches. But it’s especially good profiled on my Prosciutto Egg Cups as part of my Easter Brunch Menu!
One tip on making an especially good pesto is to take the time to freshly grate the parmesan cheese. Buy the best quality parmesan you can and actually grate it on a box grater or using a food processor. You can do this step ahead of time and store it in the fridge. Also, the quality of the olive oil will make a difference in the overall dish as well so try to use one that you know has a clean and fruity flavor. Because of the simplicity of this sauce, and the few ingredients it contains, the quality of each ingredient really shines through. And store the pesto in an air-tight container in the fridge. It will last for a week or more! I promise you this will become a new staple in your home. Why buy those expensive store-bought versions when you can make your own?
- 2 cups fresh basil, loosely packed
- 3/4 cups walnuts
- 1 large garlic clove
- 2/3 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1 small lemon, juiced
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 cup extra virign olive oil (start with 3/4 cup and add more if desired)
- In the bowl of a food processor pulse the walnuts and garlic until roughly chopped.
- Add in the parmesan, lemon juice, fresh basil, and salt. Pulse about 10 more times to combine.
- With the motor running add in about 3/4 cup of the olive oil. Stop to scrape down the sides. When still chunky but combined check the consistency. Add in the rest of the olive oil if desired.