Who doesn't love a good pesto? We don't know about you, but we find a lot of the time, pesto can be made up of more oil and basil, than nuts. Pesto is commonly known to be made with pine nuts. Obviously, we have a lot of walnuts laying around in our household. Why not throw them in a fresh batch? Save a trip to the store. In our opinion, the flavor of a walnut-based pesto is richer, and depending on how much you blend the walnuts, you can get either a smooth or chunky profile.
We have to admit here, there wasn't a lot of measuring going on. Here you thought you were going to get a full on walnut pesto recipe. Don't worry, we'll break it down and then you can have all the fun. We made a cheese-free blend as we didn't have any parmesan in the fridge. Naturally, we added more garlic. No brainer. Didn't miss a thing!
You can also use nutritional yeast as a cheese substitute. We noticed that by adding about 1/4 cup to this mixture, it became a more creamy and smoother blend. Can you tell we like to experiment?
We processed our pesto with a blender. It was a little more labor intensive as we had to stop the machine frequently to help the mixture to blend efficiently. No blame here; could have been user error. Probably was, since we're all rogue not using a recipe.
Below is what we used. If you don't have all organic ingredients, that's ok. Feel free to add or subtract to your liking. You really can't go wrong here.
Serving size: About 4 cups.
2 cups of lightly packed organic basil, stems removed, washed & dried
1.5 cups of organic walnuts (the more you use, the more buttery/thicker it becomes...think walnut pesto butter)
2/3 cup organic olive oil (the better the oil quality, the better the pesto)
8 cloves of organic garlic (yes, we used a lot...heck, we may have even used more)
Himalayan salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of ice cold water (you'll use just a little at a time to cool the mixture as you blend)
In a food processor or blender, chop the walnuts just so they're broken up.
Add garlic and basil leaves. Chop until fine. It's here where you'll add a little of the ice cold water to keep the basil cool so it doesn't turn brown. Think small bits just to keep the mixture from getting warm. It's this heat from the spinning processor or blender which can take all that beautiful color out of the basil.
After mixing the basil, garlic and walnuts, with the processor or blender running, slowly pour the olive oil through the top/feed tube and continue mixing until the oil is completely combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
You're welcome to add more or less oil to your liking. We made another batch using less oil and it turned into a lovely basil walnut butter. Happy accident and oh so yummy. Perfect for toast and sandwiches. Dare we say, even eating straight from the jar we put it in.
Store pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
We put any additional pesto in ice cube trays. This way we were able to freeze in smaller, easy to use portions. Use a spoon to place the pesto into a tray, add a little oil to the top to seal (keep from browning), and cover with plastic wrap. Once frozen, run the bottom only under hot water to just slightly release the pesto from the bottom of the tray and pop those bad boys into a freezer bag for easy accessibility. These can be stored for up to 6 months. Put it in a plastic jar or container, now you've got 9-12 months. We hardly believe it will last that long.