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Walnut Pesto & Shells

"This Basil Walnut Pesto is ready in 10 minutes or less, and you don’t even need the pricey pine nuts to make it. Turn your summer basil bumper crop into pesto and freeze it for the darkest days of winter."

Walnut Pesto & Shells

Servings – 1 Cup = 8 (2 Tablespoon servings) Prep Time – 5 Minutes Cook Time – 5 Minutes Ingredients:

  • 12 cups fresh basil leaves packed

  • 1 cup fresh parsley packed

  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese about 1 ounce

  • 1/4 cup walnuts about 1 ounce

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 16oz of of shells pasta, or your favorite pasta


In a food processor or blender, add basil, parsley, Parmesan cheese, walnuts, and garlic. Pulse until coarsely chopped, about 10 pulses.

With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper


Walnuts: For more flavor, toast the walnuts. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat walnuts until browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 2 to 5 minutes.

Garlic: Roasting garlic removes the raw heat for a mellow taste and soft texture. To try this option, in a dry medium skillet over medium-low heat, toast unpeeled garlic cloves until spotty dark brown, and slightly softened, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Storing: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (add a layer of olive oil on top to prevent oxidation).

Freezer Storage: Pour into a jar and top with olive oil to prevent oxidation. Leave enough head space at the top of the jar for expansion, then freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Additional Recipes Using Pesto:

Use different nuts

Pesto is traditionally made with pine nuts, or you could substitute an equal amount of almonds, pecans, cashews, or even hazelnuts.

Spicy Pesto

Add ¼ teaspoon or more crushed red pepper flakes to the food processor before blending.

Pesto cheese bread

Slice a loaf of bread in half lengthwise, then spread a thick layer of pesto. Top with cheese, then finish in the oven or on the grill.

Pesto cavatappi

Dress up pesto with a splash of cream and fresh tomatoes. Mix in cavatappi pasta, add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for a different dish!

Yield: This recipe makes 1 cup of pesto, enough to dress 1 pound of pasta.


Calories: 161 cal / Carbohydrates: 2g / Protein: 2g / Fat: 17g / Saturated Fat: 3g / Cholesterol: 2mg / Sodium: 55mg / Potassium: 83mg / Fiber: 1g / Sugar: 1g / Vitamin C: 11mg / Calcium: 64mg / Iron: 1mg

"This is a wonderful way to use basil from the garden! I actually prefer walnuts over the pine nuts."

CWT is not a certified dietician or nutritionist. Any nutritional information shared on this site is an estimate counted through measurements and package nutritional information used in each recipe. If calorie, macro counting and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend running the ingredients through your choice of nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary depending on national brands used per recipe.

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