pes·to (ˈpestō) – A sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy. Traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil, and European pine nuts blended with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Fiore Sardo…
But in America, like we do with most everything, we make it our own. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing, quite like a traditional pesto. But when my local store has pine-nuts at about $20.00 a pound I admit I start looking for alternatives. While most nuts are pretty pricy right now, I do find it a reasonable value exchange to use walnuts in my pesto. In addition walnuts are crazy good for you! So, as a Celiac with hypothyroidism and an embarrassing number of nutritional deficiencies, I really try to squish walnuts into my daily routine. Read about nutritional info on walnuts here.
However, at the end of the day I don’t care what time, money or nutritional benefit an exchange will make if the flavor is sacrificed. I’d rather go without than lose flavor. That is not the case here. Walnuts create a beautiful rendition to pesto. So you can save some coins and still enjoy a nutritionally PACKED pesto that keeps all the great textures and mouth feel of a pine nut pesto; that twinge of sweetness that makes everything you pair it with that much better.
FREEZER FRIENDLY: If you have left over pesto you can spoon it into an ice cube tray. freeze unit completely frozen, remove from tray and store in a zip top freezer bag.
1/4 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh basil leaves
zest and juice of one lemon
3 cloves fresh garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon back pepper
In the bowl of a food processor, add all ingredients except oil. Pulse processor until ingredients begin to break down. With the processor in constant motion, drizzle oil into the top until ingredients become pasty, but not completely smooth.
If you pesto seems a bit to dry or crumby add a bit more oil.
Serve on pasta or soups dishes or as spread on a sandwich.