Homemade Basil Pesto without Pine Nuts is a fresh and versatile sauce made with fresh basil, walnuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, garlic, and olive oil. It takes a few minutes to make and is a flavorful addition to pasta, protein, sandwiches, and more.
Classic basil pesto calls for pine nuts. However, we use walnuts instead of pine nuts because they are more affordable without sacrificing flavor. Walnuts are still rich and hearty and make the perfect addition to pesto. When combined with the basil, cheese, garlic, and olive oil, it creates a multi-dimensional flavor medley.
About Homemade Pesto Without Pine Nuts
- Taste - The combination of basil, olive oil, cheese, and pine nuts creates an herbaceous and richly flavored pesto.
- Texture - The pesto is thick yet light.
- Effort - All you need to do is add the ingredients to a food processor then blend.
- Time - It takes just 5 minutes to whip up this delicious pesto.
- Fresh basil leaves - Fresh basil provides a fresh and peppery flavor to the pesto sauce.
- Parmigiano-reggiano - Parmigiano-reggiano or parmesan cheese adds sharp creaminess.
- Walnuts - Raw or toasted walnuts add a nutty flavor and heartiness to the pesto sauce.
- Garlic cloves - Garlic adds the quintessential aroma to the sauce.
- Extra virgin olive oil - Olive oil is an emulsifier that brings the sauce together.
- Kosher salt - Salt accentuates the flavors of the sauce.
- Freshly ground black pepper - Black pepper adds a little spice
- Nuts - Replace the walnuts with pine nuts, pecans, almonds, or hemp seeds.
- Kale - Try our Kale Walnut Pesto recipe with fresh torn kale for an earthy alternative.
- Nut free pesto - If you have a nut allergy or just want to keep fat calories down, you can omit the nuts.
- Pecorino Romano - Replace a ¼ of Parmigiano-reggiano with Pecorino romano for an extra sharp flavor.
- Lemon Juice - Add a tablespoon of lemon juice for added acidity and brightness.
- Spicy - Add crushed red pepper flakes to make the sauce spicy.
- Vegan - Omit the grated Parmigiano-reggiano or parmesan cheese to make this recipe vegan and dairy free.
- Spinach Pesto - Add a couple cups of spinach leaves if you are running low on basil leaves and for added nutritional value.
- Chill basil leaves - Place the basil leaves in a mixing bowl with cold water and ice. Allow to chill for 5 minutes, then drain and dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. (Photo 1 and 2)
- Add ingredients to food processor - Add walnuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, garlic, salt, and basil leaves to a food processor. Pulse until it becomes a sandy consistency. (Photo 3 and 4)
- Add olive oil - Add in olive oil. Blend until the mixture is creamy and smooth, about 1-2 minutes. (Photo 5 and 6)
If you don't use this gluten free basil pesto sauce all in one sitting, you can store it in an air-tight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Be sure to add a thin layer of olive oil to seal out the air and prevent the sauce from oxidizing and turning brown. You can also freeze the pesto in an airtight ice cube tray for up to 6 months.
Yes! Homemade pesto is both easier and tastier than store-bought pesto. It only takes 5 minutes to make!
You don't need to use nuts in pesto. You can either omit them or use seeds like pumpkin or hemp seeds.
It will be slightly less nutty but still delicious.
Pesto can get bitter if you over-mix it in the food processor The olive oil contains bitter tasting polyphenols, which can get squeezed out if they are over processed.
Pesto will turn brown if it oxidizes while stored in the refrigerator. In order to avoid oxidization, try adding a thin layer of olive oil above the pesto to seal out the air.
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Homemade Basil Pesto without Pine Nuts
- Chill basil leaves - Place the basil leaves in a mixing bowl with cold water and ice. Allow to chill for 5 minutes, then drain and dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel.2 cups fresh basil leaves, ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-reggiano
- Add ingredients to food processor - Add Parmigiano-Reggiano, walnuts, garlic, salt, and basil leaves to a food processor. Pulse until it becomes a sandy consistency.¼ cup walnuts, 2 garlic cloves
- Add olive oil - Add in olive oil. Blend until the mixture is creamy and smooth, about 1 minutes.¼ teaspoon kosher or Sea Salt, ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Use a baking spatula to scrape all of the pesto from the food processor and eliminate food waste.
- Refrigerate leftover pesto sauce in an air-tight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Be sure to add a thin layer of olive oil to seal out the air and prevent the sauce from oxidizing and turning brown. You can also freeze the pesto in a freezer safe container for up to 6 months.