This Easy Walnut Pesto can be whipped up in just 5 minutes in a food processor or mortar and pestle. You can enjoy it with pasta, as a spread on toast, in salads or even as a dip!

A had holding a spoon in a small bowl of walnut pesto

Homemade pesto in 5 minutes

Who doesn’t love a delicious walnut and basil pesto?!

It’s seriously one of the most delicious and fresh things you can make, especially during the summertime. One thing I love about homemade pesto is that it really is *that* much better than store-bought pesto out of a jar. Jarred pestos also tend to use ingredients like canola oil, or a mix of nuts and seeds.

For an authentic pesto, you want to use a good quality olive oil a good quality parmesan cheese. These will make all the difference in the taste of the pesto.

Ingredients you’ll need

  • Basil: This is the star ingredient that gives the main flavour to a pesto. You can mix things up and make a pesto with half basil and half of another herb, (like cilantro) but for a classic pesto, we’ll stick to basil in this recipe.
  • Walnuts: A traditional pesto is made using pinenuts, which can sometimes be a little pricey or a bit harder to find at some grocery stores. So a great alternative for pesto is walnuts! Since walnuts are rich and buttery, they give an incredible taste and texture to the pesto.
  • Parmesan Cheese: It wouldn’t be pesto without it! Make sure to use real parmigiano reggiano, no fake cheese, please!
  • Olive oil: A good quality olive oil will go a long way here. You don’t want to substitute for another oil because you want to have that delicious rich flavour that the olive oil will give to this recipe.
  • Garlic: Again, fresh! No powdered, dried, frozen or pre-chopped. (ok, if you really need to you can use pre-chopped garlic)
  • Lemon juice: Just a small squeeze. The acidity in the lemon helps balance out all the flavours and brighten up the pesto.
  • Salt & pepper: To season.

How to make this Easy Walnut Pesto

This recipe is easy peasy to make! You just add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until combined. If you don’t have a food processor, you can also use a mortar and pestle and smash the ingredients together until you have a nice rustic mixture.

Once the pesto is done, it should look like this in the image below. If you prefer a smoother pesto, you can continue to add more olive oil and blend together.

How to make it vegan

Want to make this Easy Walnut Pesto vegan or dairy-free? No problem! Just substitute the Parmesan cheese in the recipe for 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast. If you don’t have nutritional yeast on hand, you can even just make the recipe by omitting the Parmesan.

Tips for making this recipe perfectly

  • Use good quality ingredients. A great-tasting pesto is all about the quality of the ingredients that go into it! Opt for a nice olive oil, Parmesan, fresh garlic and basil.
  • If you prefer a chunkier pesto, just pulse it together less. If you prefer a smoother texture, add more olive oil and continue to blend.
  • No food processor? You can also make this with a hand blender, a magic bullet or in a mortar and pestle.

Storage tips:

Fridge: Store leftovers in a jar in the fridge for up to 7 days. Use as desired.

Freezer: The best way to freeze pesto is by using an ice cube tray. Fill the ice cube tray with the pesto then drizzle a small about of olive oil over each cube to make a thin layer covering the top. This will create a seal over the pesto and prevent it from oxidizing so it will stay bright green. Place the tray in the freezer until the cubes are frozen. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a plastic bag. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Other recipes you may like

walnut pesto in a beige ceramic bowl

If you tried this Easy Kale Pesto or any other recipe on the blog let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment/rating below! Be sure to follow along on PinterestInstagram and Facebook for even more deliciousness!

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A spoon with walnut pesto on it

Easy Walnut Pesto

  • Author: Jessica Hoffman
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Blend
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This Easy Walnut Pesto comes together in 5 minutes and can be used on pasta, salads, as a spread or even a dip!


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed 
  • 1/3 cup walnuts 
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove 
  • 1/41/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice 


  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until the mixture comes together. (You may need to scrape down the sides of the food processor a few times.) 
  2. Taste and adjust salt and seasoning to your desired taste. 
  3. Enjoy with pasta, toast, on salads or however you like!


  • Serving Size: 1 tbsp
  • Calories: 60
  • Fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 1g
  • Fiber: 0.5
  • Protein: 1g

Keywords: how to make walnut pesto, pesto with walnuts