Garden Basil Pesto

This recipe is quick, easy and never fails to impress. Classic pesto in Italy is typically made with pine nuts (pignoli), however I love substituting walnuts, pistachios or a even combination of the three at times – the options are unlimited! Here’s my version:




1/2 cup walnuts
3 tbsp chopped garlic (8 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves*
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino

*Different varieties of basil work great. I enjoy combining Italian and cinnamon basil together, especially when complementing pasta.


  • In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the walnuts and garlic for 30 seconds.
  • Add all the basil leaves, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and lemon juice to the walnuts and garlic.
  • With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the open tube and process for about 1 minute or until pureed.
  • Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino cheeses and puree for an additional 30 seconds.

Yield: 4 cups


Store the pesto in a refrigerator for up to a week and in a freezer for up to six months.

Tip: I recently purchased this king size rubber ice cube tray which is great for freezing individual portions. You can enjoy pesto all year round.



One response to “Garden Basil Pesto

  1. Pingback: Caprese Salad – Deconstructed | Avant Garden Food·

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