Basil Walnut Pesto is a super easy, homemade vegan pesto recipe that is perfect with pasta dishes, salads, on chicken and salmon as a sauce or even as a dip! The walnuts give it a creamy base which helps avoid the parmesan altogether, and are a great substitute to pine nuts.
Q: What do walnuts, basil and olive oil give you for lunch?
A: Something you will want to eat by the spoonful.
I first published this recipe on February 19, 2015 (whoaaaaa! has it really been that long?) and decided that since this is one of my favorite pesto recipes, I must refresh the pictures and update it to give you a brand new (but the same) basil walnut pesto recipe.
Now there are a ton of pesto recipes on the internet.
I’ll tell you why this basil walnut pesto recipe is so perfect:
- Traditional Genovese pesto is made with pine nuts, which are really expensive and sometimes difficult to find. This recipe replaces pine nuts with walnuts, which work just as well and lend a delicious creaminess to the pesto
- Instead of using a mortar pestle, which is not available in everyone’s kitchen, I’m recommending that you use an immersion blender. A good quality immersion blender like the KitchenAid cordless immersion blender can blend all the ingredients without affecting the colour or the taste
- This recipe uses garlic, which I think is such an important ingredient when it comes to pesto and in my opinion a must-add. But if you aren’t a big fan of garlic, you can easily skip it out
- There is no need to roast or soak the nuts. With an immersion blender, blending/ grinding becomes really simple and it’ll break down the nuts really fast
- This is the quickest way to make pesto and takes less than 10 minutes
The right equipment to make basil walnut pesto
The best way to make any pesto is to use a mortar and pestle. The thing is I don’t own one thats big enough to make a whole cup of pesto and sometimes that can take way too long. And so I recommend that you use an immersion blender. The reason I recommend an immersion blender or hand blender over a food processor to make this pesto is that food processors generate heat while blending, which can oxidize the basil as well as make the olive oil bitter, none of which happens in this case. And the immersion blender is so powerful that it easily breaks down the tough walnuts and all the other ingredients into a smooth, creamy paste, giving you the best basil walnut sauce that you will want to spread on EVERYTHING!
More Recipes That You’ll Like:
- Creamy Parmesan Mushroom Sauce
- Red Tomato Sauce for Pasta and Pizza
- White Sauce Pasta with Vegetables
- Easy Vegetarian Lasagna
- Pasta Salad with Italian Balsamic Dressing
Basil Walnut Pesto (Super Easy, Vegan, Made in an Immersion Blender)
- Immersion blender
- 1/2 cup Walnuts
- 4 cups Basil leaves fresh
- 4 Garlic cloves peeled
- 1/2 cup Olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Lime juice optional
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Place the walnuts, basil, garlic, salt and pepper in a jar and use an immersion blender to break everything down into a rough, chunky paste.
- Slowly drizzle in olive oil and continue to blend till the basil walnut pesto is smooth. Mix in the lime juice if you like. I love adding a squirt of lime juice because it adds to the fresh flavors and keeps the color bright green.
- Use immediately as a spread for sandwiches, on salads, or as a pasta sauce, on chicken and salmon.
- This recipe makes approximately a cup of pesto
- Pesto should be used immediately or the color starts to darken (this will not affect the taste in anyway)
- To store the pesto, use the smallest possible container, top with olive oil and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks