Walnut Pesto

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This Walnut Pesto is twist on the traditional basil pesto recipe. It’s made of toasted walnuts, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese, and tastes amazing on pasta or toast.

Basil pesto is one of the best pasta toppings in my opinion. When you want something like pesto, but can’t get your hands on basil, make this toasted walnut pesto instead!

A little bit of this pesto goes a long way. It’s wonderful tossed in fresh pasta or spread over some toasted Italian bread as an appetizer. This walnut pesto is flavorful, nutty, a little cheesy, and easy to make!

Close up of walnut pesto in a white dish.

How to make walnut pesto:

  • Place walnuts in a small skillet, and toast over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Place the walnuts, garlic, and sea salt into a food processor.
  • Pulse the ingredients until the walnuts are finely ground but not a paste.
  • Slowly drizzle in the olive oil.
  • Transfer the walnut mixture to a bowl, and fold in the shredded Parmesan cheese.
  • Serve on pasta or as a spread on crostini.
Collage style photo showing how to make walnut pesto.

Do you have to toast the walnuts?

No, you don’t have to toast the walnuts, but the flavor will be just slightly different. Toasting the walnuts brings out their oils and give them a nice toasted flavor.

Can you freeze this pesto?

We do not recommend freezing this pesto sauce. It’s best used immediately or being refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Can you make a double batch?

Yes, this recipe can easily be doubled with no issues. Just make sure the food processor can handle the volume.

Top down view of walnut pesto in a white round dish.

Other homemade sauce recipes you may enjoy:

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Top down view of walnut pesto in a white round dish.

Walnut Pesto

5 from 1 vote
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Author: Kim
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 14 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings


  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • pinch salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, finely shredded off the block


  • Heat a small skillet over low heat. Add the walnuts, and toast for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
    1 cup walnuts
  • Place the walnuts, garlic, and salt in a food processor. Pulse just until the walnuts are finely crushed (not a paste).
    2 garlic cloves
    pinch salt
  • Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while continuing to pulse.
    ¼ cup olive oil
  • Transfer to a bowl, and stir in the Parmesan cheese.
    ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • Serve immediately with pasta, or refrigerate until ready to use.


*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 ounce. Actual calories will vary.
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.


Serving: 1ounceCalories: 226kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 4gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 10gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 74mgPotassium: 98mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 40IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 58mgIron: 1mg
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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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