Go Back
+ servings
Print Pin

Basil Walnut Pesto Recipe

A classic Italian basil walnut pesto sauce consisting of a rustic basil leaf puree, garlic, olive oil and walnuts. It can be made with pine nuts, hazelnuts or almonds as well.
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Italian sauce, pesto
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 420kcal
Author Florentina


  • 2 cups Genoese basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or as needed
  • 3/4 cups walnuts or pine nuts lightly toasted and cooled
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1/3 cup parmigiano reggianno cheese (use pure vegetarian parmesan by Violife)
  • 1 squeeze lemon juice
  • the zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 pinch sea salt + more to taste


  • Start by adding the nuts to a cold skillet. Turn on the heat and toast until lightly golden watching them closely to make sure they don't burn. Cool off completely.
  • In the bowl of a food processor buzz up the toasted walnuts with the basil leaves and olive oil until a rustic puree forms.
  • Transfer the sauce to a bowl and stir in the grated garlic, parmesan cheese, lemon zest and juice. 
  • Adjust seasonings to your taste with sea salt and more lemon juice. Serve promptly with pasta, pizza, sandwiches, salads, potatoes or panini.


  • Storage - you can store pesto tightly covered in the fridge for up to a week. Long term it is best stored in the freezer in ice cubes trays covered with a thin layer of olive oil. Once frozen transfer the cubes to freezer bags for up to 6 months (preferably vacuum sealed so no air can get in to encourage oxidation).
  • Swaps - if you aren't all that fond of basil you can replace it with baby kale, spinach or parsley, tough I will argue that by using parsley you are making chimichurri
  • Spicy - If you also love your pesto with a little attitude just add in a good pinch of red chili flakes.
  • Walnuts - toasting the nuts just a little bit ads that special nutty flavor, try not to skip that step and allow them to cool off completely to prevent browning the basil.


Calories: 420kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 145mg | Potassium: 146mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 703IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 144mg | Iron: 1mg