A nice alternative to basil, parsley pesto is just as bright tasting and easy to make. With walnuts instead of pine nuts, it's a great way to celebrate fresh parsley. The season lasts longer than basil season, too, so you can make this pesto well into fall!
You need just 7 ingredients for this recipe, including salt and pepper. No yeast, no special cheese, just common ingredients easy to find in any grocery store.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Parsley: use flat-leaf parsley for the best flavour and texture. In a pinch curly parsley can be used but note that it will have a harder texture.
- Walnuts: fresh walnuts should be stored in a cool, dry place (even the fridge!) because they go rancid quickly. Use fresh nuts for this recipe.
- Garlic: while you can adjust the garlic to your taste, this pesto is pretty garlicky so maybe taste it before adding extra.
Step by Step
Step 1: add all ingredients but the olive oil to the bowl of a food processor.
Step 2: blend to finely chop, then add the oil in a slow stream while blending, until smooth.
- Add the oil slowly: this is what makes the pesto creamy and helps to prevent it from splitting.
- Don't use woody stems: while some mixers might be able to blend them up fully, the hard stems of parsley can be bitter and ruin the taste of the pesto.
- Try adding zest: if you want to boost the lemon flavour - this is particularly good with pasta - try adding the zest of a lemon to the mix, too.
How to Store
Storage: store in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-4 days. It tastes just as good on the second and third day!
Freezing: transfer parsley pesto to an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. The colour might change after thawing. You can also freeze it in ice cube trays and add a cube to dishes like soups and stews for an instant boost.
Why is my parsley pesto too bitter?
If your pesto is bitter, it might be due to using old parsley or adding too many stems. Try to use fresh young leaves and add a pinch of sugar to balance it out if needed.
Why is my pesto not creamy?
The creaminess of pesto comes from the mixing method. Adding the oil slowly while blending encourages emulsification, making the oil molecules smaller so that they mix more effectively with the lemon juice and water. Make sure you blend it properly and you'll have nice creamy pesto.
What oil is best for pesto?
Extra virgin olive oil is the best oil for pesto. It imparts the best flavour and since you usually don't cook pesto, it also holds on to more antioxidants.
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- Food processor or immersion blender
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped tightly packed
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Sea salt to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil as needed
- Add the parsley, garlic, nuts, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Blend until very finely chopped.2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped, 2 cloves garlic, ¼ cup walnuts, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, Sea salt, Freshly ground pepper
- Add the olive oil in a slow stream while mixing. Once all of the oil is added, the pesto should be smooth and look creamy. Serve immediately or refrigerate for 3-4 days. Parsley pesto freezes well.⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil