Walnut Pesto

Pine nuts are not cheap. About thirty bucks a pound, actually. Walnuts on the other hand, are about seven dollars for the same weight. This is a HUGE difference. We have guests visiting and I found out one of them LOVES pesto. So, naturally I decided to make my beautiful and delicious “Green Spaghetti” (recipe to come). Standing in the grocery aisle, pondering the nuts ( I said nuts!) I decided to sub out the pine nuts for another oily nut, the walnut. At a fraction of the cost, I was intrigued to find out if it could really hold up to the traditional pine nut pesto. I’ve heard of others swapping nuts but had never tasted so…

It was delicious! Completely satisfying and practically the same. I’m not sure if I could tell the difference because I have a sensitive palette or because I knew they were there. (Probably the latter!) So, be kind to your pocket book and try this version sometime!

You will need the following:

  • Two packed cups basil leaves. Discard large stems.
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • salt to taste


  1. In a food processor, add basil and walnuts. Pulse a few times until grainy.
  2. Add garlic, repeat.
  3. Next add cheese and repeat.
  4. Take your food processor off of pulse and turn it on. While it’s running add the olive oil in a slow and steady stream to emulsify the oil into the pesto mixture.

Once the desired consistency is reached use immediately. If you need to store it, pour it into the storage container and cover it with plastic wrap so that the plastic is touching the top of the pesto. This will prevent the pesto from turning a dark black brown color on the surface. Give this pesto a shot. It’s great on pasta and can be used as a fantastic dip. Just serve it with pita chips and cut veg and you’re good to go! Swearing Mom out.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Vicky mckinsey williams says:

    My gramma,who was off the boat Italian, always used walnuts. My mom used to make it and omitted nuts all together. And yes it was ‘ green spaghetti ‘ to us also !

    1. I upped the ante on my version of green spaghetti! I can’t wait to share it with you! Love that your grandma used the walnuts. I’ve seen recipes but have always made it with pine nuts. What a pleasant surprise to find out how good it was at a fraction of the cost!

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