Homemade basil-walnut pesto

Kathleen Blumenthal
I love to cook and expand the boundaries of cooking
basil-walnut pesto

This is a classic recipe for a famous Italian sauce. However, I use walnuts instead of pine nuts. The Italian nuts give my children a metallic taste in the mouth and I heard many people have this problem. Walnuts are safer and they’re great for your health. If you don’t like nuts, just skip this ingredients and add more cheese.

Homemade pesto can last for many weeks and make eating even more pleasant. Pesto is rich in healthy fats and you know exactly what ingredients you put in there. No added sugars and preservatives. Keep it in a freezer for 3 months or in a fridge for 5 days. You can warm it up in a microwave for 15 seconds before serving.

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy having your own garden when possible (even a few plants is a garden!) to produce the freshest ingredients and live a “no-waste” lifestyle. If you have fresh basil and parsley, you can easily make delicious pesto and enjoy the taste of this flavorful sauce. It’s freezer-friendly and can be made ahead.

Homemade basil-walnut pesto

If you follow me on social media, you know I’m not very good at gardening, I just like seeing some fresh greens and see the results of my work. I have respect for people who work hard to plant and harvest fresh foods every year. And it’s not a secret that veggies and herbs are good for our bodies, and pesto is one of the healthiest sauces that you can make with fresh foods you find in the store or grow in your garden.

Of course, growing your own herbs is a great idea, but if you don’t have plans to do it, you can get all ingredients for this recipe in any grocery store. It’s a perfect recipe for the times when you have a lot of basil and parsley and you don’t know what to do with it. If you never heard of homemade pesto, it’s an Italian sauce made of nuts, basil, cheese and garlic. As you can see, the taste cannot be bad. It goes well with many dishes, such as vegetables, pasta, meats and different bread.

Pesto that you can buy in a store tastes completely different than its homemade counterpart and there is no need to say which one is better. You can use it with fish or chicken, on sandwich bread and as one of the ingredients for marinade for grilling. You can use any type of nuts but pine nuts and walnuts are the most popular.

Homemade basil-walnut pesto

Despite everything I have said, some of you might be thinking if pesto is healthy and good for your diet. Of course, it contains olive oil and nuts, which are high in fat and calories. It’s true but not all fats are bad for you. Salmon and avocado contain fats as well and everyone knows these foods are good for you. Pesto is rich in Omega 3s, so adding some of it to your diet is almost always a great idea.

If you haven’t tried making your own sauce, this time should be your first. All you need to do is to go to your garden or to the local farmer and take a huge bag of fresh basil. It also smells amazing, all your family will be waiting for the result. Traditionally Italians use Parmesan cheese, but if you don’t like it, you can substitute this ingredient with any other cheese, even dairy free one. The sauce is packed with lots of flavor and has a vivid green color.

This Pesto recipe is really easy to make, you will find no reason to buy it in a grocery store. It’s worth the time and effort, and you can easily buy garlic and fresh basil from your local farmer. I’m sure you will love the smell of fresh basil when it fills the kitchen when it’s ready. I usually eat it with chicken or fish, I know that some people serve it with roasted spaghetti squash for a delicious bowl of foods. Of course, it goes great with grilled vegetables, chicken, shrimp and steak. You can serve it on your next family evening or party as a sauce for snacks and side dishes. It goes well with so many foods that you should give it a try!

Homemade basil-walnut pesto

Homemade pesto is incredibly easy to make and it tastes much better than store-bought pesto. It's perfect to add to pasta, salads, dishes, fish and meat. You can even use it as a dip. The walnuts add an extra flavor to this creamy sauce. If you don't use nuts, you should add parmesan.

Course Lunch & dinner
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 143 kcal


  • 1000 ml basil leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 125 ml walnuts, toasted
  • 125 ml parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 5 ml red pepper flakes
  • 125 ml olive oil
  • 5 ml black pepper, cracked
  • 10 ml salt


  1. Take a Vitamix blender, add all ingredients except olive oil to the bowl. Pulse for a minute. The mixture should be completely smooth and very creamy. It should have a bright green color.

  2. Add olive oil and pulse several times until the olive oil is blended into the mixture. The sauce should look like a paste. If the sauce is very thick, add 15 ml of olive oil. Pulse several times. 

  3. Repeat the last step until you reach the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

The best part of pesto is that you can make it in huge quantities when basil is cheaper and then individually portion it in different boxes and keep it in a freezer. This way you will have a ready-to-eat sauce all year round. All you need to freeze this delicious Pesto is to take plastic cups and freeze. Take smaller ones to make individual Pesto portions. When the sauce is solid, all you need to do is to pop it out to a vacuum sealer and freeze. If you don't have a sealer at home, you can use a freezer bag. Just make sure to remove the air. Dethawing is really easy and it won't take longer than 5 minutes. Pesto preserves the flavors for many months.

Recipe Rating
(1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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