Pesto Without Pine Nuts
This Pesto without pine nuts is an easy healthy pesto that is perfect if you run out of pine nuts or have nuts allergies.
Plus, this pesto recipe is ready in under 5 minutes, and use a good amount of basil to use the overgrown herbs in your garden.
We love pesto recipes in my house, it’s such a great condiment to add to roasted vegetables, pasta or simply spread on bread.
I have been experimenting with new pesto versions, and making spinach pesto was excellent. Today, I made a pesto without pine nuts, using walnuts as an alternative.
Walnuts have a very similar texture to pine nuts. It’s fatty and adds excellent texture to the pesto.
Plus, it contains 500% more calcium, which is a great healthy option.
Can Pesto Be Made Without Pine Nuts?
Yes, you can make pesto recipes with nuts other than pine nuts.
The goal of pine nuts in pesto is to add a creamy texture, so nuts or seeds with a similar fat content work well.
As a result, you can make pesto with excellent results using walnuts, sunflower seeds, and peanuts
How To Make Pesto Without Pine Nuts
This pesto recipe without pine nuts is easy to make in 10 minutes, like any classic pesto recipe.
Ingredients For Basil Pesto
All you need to make this easy walnut pesto are:
- Basil Leaves – fresh, washed, and drained.
- Parmesan Cheese or other Italian cheese like Pecorino Romano, a hard Italian cheese made from sheep milk.
- Walnuts or sunflower seeds for a homemade nut-free pesto recipe.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Fresh Garlic – peeled and whole
- Ground Pepper
Preparing The Basil
If you grow your own basil leaves, it’s preferable to wash them before making pesto recipes, as they can carry bugs, dust, or dirt.
Place the leaves in a sieve and rinse them under cold tap water.
Then, lay a large piece of absorbent paper on your benchtop and arrange the wet basil leaves in a single layer.
Place an extra absorbent kitchen towel on top and press rub to remove excess water without breaking the leaves.
You must remove all the water or most of it to guarantee fresh, flavorful flavors. Don’t add water to the pesto recipe or the texture split.
Processing Basil And Walnuts
First, add basil leaves and walnuts to a food processor and blend on medium speed until a coarse mixture forms.
Adding Cheese And Garlic
Next, add freshly grated Parmesan cheese, whole peeled garlic cloves, salt, and pepper.
Process again on low-medium speed, or use the pulse option of the food processor to pulse the garlic into a crumbly texture.
Adding Olive Oil
Now, set the speed to low, and add olive oil in a slow, steady stream. I like to pour the olive oil into the top diffuser attachment or my food chopper.
It releases the oil slowly and makes the pesto perfect every time.
For a chunky texture, don’t over-process the pesto. Stop the food processor a bit before, and stir in oil by hand.
Pesto Serving Ideas
I use pesto in so many ways. It’s a delicious addition to:
- Cooked Pasta or try my pesto zucchini noodles.
- Grilled Chicken – Try adding a tablespoon on top of my cast-iron chicken breast. It tastes like garlic butter with a touch of basil – amazing!
- Pizza Base for a pesto pizza – try this with my almond flour pizza crust for a healthy pizza.
- Roasted Vegetables like roasted cauliflower or roasted potatoes.
- Creamy Sauce to make pesto sauces try to stir a few tablespoons in my bechamel cheese sauce or my 3-ingredient of alfredo sauce.
- Bread – Pesto is also a great appetizer to spread on a toasted baguette or wholegrain bread. Add some feta cheese, sundried tomatoes, or cured ham with it for a lovely crostini recipe.
You can store pesto leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator or a glass mason jar.
Basil pesto lasts for 4 to 5 days in the fridge, and sometimes, the top darkens as it oxidizes.
The pesto is still tasty to eat, but stir it before serving.
How To Prevent The Pesto From Darkening
To prevent your pesto color from changing and oxidizing, add a thin layer of olive oil on top of the jar.
The oil creates a barrier between the pesto and air, avoiding oxidation of the herbs.
You can freeze pesto in airtight freezer bags, or better, in ice cube trays.
This technique is excellent as you can thaw a small serving of pesto at a time or directly add a cube of frozen pesto to a pan to flavor sauteed cauliflower or steamed vegetables.
Below are some ingredient substitution suggestions if you need them.
- Nut-Free – If you have nut allergies, replace the walnuts with sunflower seeds.
- Dairy-Free – You can use any kind of dairy-free parmesan or use nutritional yeast to make a vegan pesto with a lovely cheesy flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are my answers to your most common questions about this pesto recipe.
A food processor or food chopper works better to make pesto. If your blender has a tamper tool, you may achieve the most incredible texture.
But overall, a blender makes pesto less chunky.
There are many nuts and seeds that work well in pesto, including sunflower seeds, blanched silvered almonds, and walnuts.
Pine nuts add a creamy, chunky texture to the pesto.
However, pine nuts are not essential in a pesto recipe. You can use other nuts or seeds, like sunflower seeds if you have tree nut allergies.
No, it can be made with seeds or no nuts and seeds. But in this case, it won’t be chunky at all!
Yes, you can make cilantro pesto, Parsley pesto, or use any fresh flat herbs you love.
More Dip And Spread Recipes
Here are some more dip and spread recipes for you to try.
Did you try this homemade pesto without pine nuts? Share a comment or review below to let me know how much you like it.
Pesto Without Pine Nuts
Want My Kitchen Equipment?
- 3 cups Fresh Basil Leaves
- ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese Freshly grated
- ⅓ cup Walnuts or sunflower seeds if nut-free
- 3 Garlic
- ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ⅛ teaspoon Ground Pepper
- 1-2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
- 1 pinch Chili Flakes
- 1 drizzle Olive oil
- In a food chopper or food processor, add the basil leaves and walnuts (or sunflower seeds if nut-free).
- Blend on medium speed for a few seconds until the nuts turn into a crumbly mixture.
- Stop the food processor and add the whole peeled garlic, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Add any optional flavors listed above if desired.
- Blend again on medium speed to pulse garlic and cheese into a coarse texture.
- Switch the food processor on low speed, and slowly add olive oil in a steady stream. I highly recommend pouring the oil into the diffuser attachment tube of your food processor to release oil steadily.
- Stop when all the oil is incorporated or a little bit before if you want a chunky pesto dip.
- Stir pesto in cooked pasta on top of grilled chicken bread or as a base for pizza.
- Store in the fridge in a sealed glass mason jar with a thin layer of olive oil on top to prevent the top from darkening and oxidizing. Keep up to 3-4 days or freeze in an ice cube tray. Use frozen or warm dish or thaw a few hours in the fridge before use.
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Diet:Dairy-Free OptionEgg-FreeGluten-FreeGrain-FreeHealthyKetoLow-CarbSugar-FreeVegan OptionVegetarian
Preparation:Under 10 MinutesUnder 20 MinutesUnder 30 Minutes
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