Made with fresh sweet basil and toasted walnuts, this Walnut Pesto will brighten up the flavors of plain fish, chicken, shrimp, or pasta. It takes just a few minutes to make, and you can even freeze your leftovers!
- ❤️ Why You'll Love This Pesto Sauce Recipe
- 🛒 Ingredients for Basil Walnut Pesto
- 🔪 How to Make Walnut Pesto Sauce
- 💡 Tips For Making the Best Pesto
- ☑️ Storage Instructions
- 🍴 Best Uses for Pesto Sauce
- 🔄 Substitutions and Additions
- What is a Basic Pesto Sauce Made of?
- Why is My Walnut Pesto Bitter?
- Is Pesto Sauce Served Hot or Cold?
- What Does Pesto Taste Best On?
- What Nuts are Good in Pesto Besides Pine Nuts?
- 🍽️ More Sauce Recipes
❤️ Why You'll Love This Pesto Sauce Recipe
- Bright fresh basil flavor
- Easy to make with just a handful of ingredients
- Made with toasted walnuts for added nutty flavor
- Quick and easy way to spruce up fish, chicken, shrimp or pasta
- Vegetarian, Low carb and Keto
This quick, easy and very delicious no-cook sauce adds an Italian flair to so many dishes. And because it's a fresh sauce, you can make it while your protein, like chicken, shrimp or fish is cooking, or your pasta is boiling away on the stovetop. By the time it's finished cooking your homemade pesto sauce will be ready to go!
It also stores well in the fridge for a few days, or you can even freeze it. It's made with a few simple ingredients that you're likely to have on hand. If you happen to have an herb garden with a thriving basil plant, this easy keto pesto will put it to good use!
Homemade pesto sauce can add great flavor to just about anything you add it to. There are several variations of pesto that I make as well, including Parsley Pesto with Almonds, Easy Pea Pesto with Spirali Pasta and Zucchini with Walnut Watercress Pesto. Or if you prefer the classic pesto, try this Pesto Sauce recipe.
🛒 Ingredients for Basil Walnut Pesto
*Exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below.
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🔪 How to Make Walnut Pesto Sauce
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Add the walnuts to a small baking sheet and roast in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until fragrant and slightly golden.
In the bowl of a food processor, add in the (still warm) toasted walnuts, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse several times.
Add in the basil and lemon juice, and continue processing until the basil is broken down.
Slowly stream in the olive oil, with the food processor running and mix until well combined.
Add in the parmesan cheese and pulse a few times, just until it’s well incorporated.
Serve immediately, over fish, chicken, shrimp or pasta.
💡 Tips For Making the Best Pesto
- Take your time and mix things in the proper order. If you try to rush and blend everything all at once, you will end up with an unpleasant texture that's not what you're looking for.
- Use the best quality extra virgin olive oil. Since this is not a sauce that you'll be cooking, you really want to use the olive oil with the best flavor.
- Use a good quality parmesan cheese, and if you don't have parmesan on hand, you can use Pecorino Romano instead. When you make a fresh sauce like this that has only a few ingredients, the flavors of each ingredient will really stand out, so you want to use the best.
- Don't add the cheese too soon, you really want to add it right at the end and just blend for a short time.
☑️ Storage Instructions
Store leftover pesto in an airtight jar in the fridge for a few days. You can also freeze leftover pesto sauce in an ice cube tray, so whenever you need just a little pesto to spoon over a piece of chicken or fish, you can just thaw out a cube or two!
🍴 Best Uses for Pesto Sauce
The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to how to serve pesto. Here are some of my favorite ways:
- The most traditional way is over a bowl of your favorite pasta.
- Serve over a piece of this Grilled Chicken instead of the citrus glaze.
- Spoon some on top of this Baked Red Snapper fresh out of the oven and leave off the compound butter.
- Drizzle some over this Caprese Salad as an alternative to the balsamic reduction.
- Spread some on a piece of garlic bread for a bright, fresh flavor.
- Dollop some over these Air Fryer Baked Potatoes instead of using other toppings like sour cream or cheese.
- Add pesto over scrambled eggs to take them from ordinary to eggstra-ordinary!
- Use it instead of a tomato-based pizza sauce on your next pizza.
- Spread some inside an Italian sub sandwich or wrap, instead of mayonnaise or mustard, for a bright, fresh flavor.
🔄 Substitutions and Additions
- If you don't have walnuts on hand, you can use pine nuts or almonds instead. Just be sure to toast them first, to give them a deep nutty flavor. Toasting them is a MUST!
- If you don't have parmesan cheese, you can use either Pecorino Romano or Asiago cheese instead. You can also use a combination of them if you'd like.
- If you're short on basil, you can use some parsley in addition to the basil you do have. See this Parsley Pesto that's made from all parsley and almonds.
What is a Basic Pesto Sauce Made of?
Classic pesto sauce is typically made from fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and parmesan cheese. This is a classic Pesto Sauce recipe that has all of these ingredients.
Why is My Walnut Pesto Bitter?
The most common reason could be that your olive oil has gone rancid. Olive oil does have a shelf life, and when it goes beyond that, it has a very unpleasant flavor.
Another reason could be that you over blended your pesto and caused the olive oil to become bitter.
Is Pesto Sauce Served Hot or Cold?
Pesto is always best served at room temperature. You don't ever want to cook the sauce and it's also not the right consistency when it's cold. So gently warming it up to room temperature will give you the best flavor and texture, hands down.
What Does Pesto Taste Best On?
There are so many options for using pesto, but my personal favorite is with a simple pasta like penne, angel hair or fettuccini. Serving it with pasta really allows the pesto to be front and center, without any strong competing flavors.
What Nuts are Good in Pesto Besides Pine Nuts?
You can either use walnuts, which I use in this recipe, or you can use almonds or even pistachio nuts.
🍽️ More Sauce Recipes
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Add the walnuts to a small baking sheet and roast in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until fragrant and slightly golden.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add in the (still warm) toasted walnuts, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse several times.
- Add in the basil and lemon juice, continue processing until the basil is broken down. Slowly stream in the olive oil, with the food processor running and mix until well combined.
- Add in the parmesan cheese and pulse a few times, just until it’s well incorporated. Serve immediately, over fish, chicken, shrimp or pasta.
*Make sure to scroll up and read the post for substitutions, additions and helpful tips for making this recipe.
*Nutritional data is provided as a courtesy and is accurate to the best of my knowledge. You can verify it using the nutrition calculator of your choice. All data is based on net carbs, without sugar alcohol: Swerve, Erythritol, Monk Fruit or Allulose.
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