Homemade pesto hits different. Something about the basil picked right off the stem, parmesan grated seconds before, garlic just peeled from the bulb, and of course the high quality olive oil. Traditional pesto is made with pine nuts, but they are hard to find and usually pretty pricey. I’ve found that making pesto without pine nuts, and swapping walnuts instead, still makes a fabulous fresh pesto!
- Basil: my favorite part of pesto. While you can add other herbs or greens, I personally can’t do a pesto without basil
- Walnuts: this is our swap for pine nuts. They’re easier to find, but also have slightly more protein and fiber than pine nuts, yet still provide the structure that pine nuts would. Win win!
- Olive oil: I use a good quality extra virgin olive oil.
- Garlic: I am a garlic girl, but keep in mind how potent raw garlic is. To me, 1-2 cloves is perfect.
- Parmesan: freshly grated always wins! Use the finest setting
- Kosher salt: for taste
More ingredient swaps:
- Spinach: You can swap up to half of the basil with spinach without sacrificing the flavor.
- Arugula: You can swap up to a quarter of the basil for arugula. Keep in mind that using high quality extra virgin olive oil and raw garlic will add spice to the pesto. Arugula can have a peppery taste that might be overwhelming combined with the olive oil and garlic.
- Macadamia nuts: these would provide a lovely creamier texture to the pesto.
- Pistachios: if you love pistachios, you should try this!
- Cashews: similar to macadamia nuts, these would provide more of a creamier texture
How you make walnut pesto without pine nuts:
- By food processor: throw all of the ingredients in a food processor and mix until the consistency you desire
- By chopping: hand chopping the basil (or other greens), nuts, and garlic is a wonderful way to make pesto. The results are slightly better than by processor, but does take much longer. Try this with friends or family as a fun activity!
- By mortar and pestle: mash the garlic and salt until a paste forms. Add the basil and continue (might be easier to add in increments, and roughly chopping first). Once the leaves are combined with the garlic paste, add the nuts and do the same. Finally add the cheese to combine, and lastly add the olive oil until you have your desired texture of pesto
Why you’ll love this pesto without pine nuts:
- Super fresh
- Can be paired with pasta, pizza, chicken, salads, sandwiches, toast, eggs, oatmeal, fish.. Literally anything savory. I love my pesto ricotta pasta recipe!
- More affordable and approachable by using walnuts instead of pine nuts
- Easy to store extras in the refrigerator or in the freezer
Lastly, of you do make this walnut pesto without pine nuts recipe, be sure to give this recipe a rating and/or leave a comment! It means the world to hear from you. Also, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram so I can see what you’re making! I love to see your results 🙂
Pesto without Pine Nuts
- ½ cup walnuts 45g
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- ½ cup grated parmesean 55g
- ½ cup olive oil 4.5 oz
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 handful fresh basil about 65g
- 1 handful spinach optional, to replace 1 handful basil
- Finely grate the cheese. Wash and dry the basil leaves and spinach.
- Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until the desired consistency is reached.