Walnut-Herb Pesto

Walnut-Herb Pesto

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Makes 1 1/2 cups Servings


  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Recipe Preparation

  • With machine running, drop garlic into processor and chop finely. Add walnuts and next 6 ingredients; using on/off turns, process until chunky puree forms, occasionally scraping down sides. Transfer to bowl. Mix in Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Pesto can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Recipe by Diane Rossen WorthingtonReviews Section

Walnut Pasta Sauce

Creamy walnut pasta sauce, a 10-mins vegan sauce that’s dairy-free and gluten-free. This walnut pasta recipe is so easy to make, high in protein and only requires 7-8 basic ingredients with your pasta of choice.

Move over cashew pasta sauce, hello walnut pasta sauce! This creamy walnut sauce is more budget-friendly, lower in saturated fat and full of their own nutrition benefits than traditional cashew or dairy cream sauce.

This easy pasta recipe makes the more buttery, velvety, smooth, creamy walnut pasta sauce. It’s perfect for vegan alfredo pasta, creamy spinach sauces, rosé sauce or anything else that needs a vegan creamy white sauce.

A lot of critiques of many vegan cream sauces are qualms with cashews. Although cashews have the potential to be a weapon in your vegan pantry, walnuts are the affordable, lower fat sister.

Related Recipe: Easy Vegan Rosé Pasta

Spring Herb Pesto with Roasted Walnuts

When someone mentions “pesto,” you probably think about basil. It’s become synonymous with a traditional pesto alla genovese, a beautiful basil sauce originating from Genoa used on pizzas, pastas, in soups, and as part of many delectable appetizers. But “pesto” is actually the shortened form of the word “pestato,” meaning to pound or crush, referring to the crushing of garlic and herbs. It’s Latin root is “pestle.” So, you can make all kinds of pestos–mint pesto, nettle pesto, parsley pesto, and more. I love working with it in the spring and summer when you can pull greens fresh from the garden and whip up a sauce in a minute, no cooking necessary.

Traditional basil pesto is tough to beat, but I do like to play around with the herbs in our garden and work with what’s fresh. Here’s a springtime version heavy on what’s growing in our garden now–fresh parsley and arugula, with hints of mint. We love the complexity of flavors in this sauce–the freshness of the parsley and mint combined with the spiciness of the arugula and garlic. I also really appreciate the richness of roasted walnuts here.

  • 2 medium garlic cloves (I actually used 1 medium and two small cloves, so go with your best guess here)
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, packed tightly (equivalent to nearly an entire standard bunch of store-bought parsley)
  • 2 cups arugula, packed
  • 3 big sprigs mint, de-stemmed, leaves only
  • 1 cup walnuts, roasted
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil (tasting variety not bitter)
  • Sea salt (such as flake sea salt)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Roast walnuts at 450-degrees until crisp and dark brown in places.

In a mixer (I used a Cuisinart), add garlic and pulse until chopped. Add all other ingredients at once, layering parsley first, then arugula and mint, then roasted walnuts. Sprinkle with a good pinch of flake sea salt and a few grounds of black pepper. Pour in your good olive oil.

Blend on a low setting or pulse until smooth, stopping to stir occasionally if necessary. Add more salt or pepper to taste. Use on pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, potatoes, soups, simple toasts, or our favorite–Italian Farinata with Baby Radishes, Early Potatoes, and Fresh Mozzarella.

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Walnut Pesto and Potato Pizza

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy. You may add a teaspoon or two of olive oil, if needed, to get to the consistency you desire. Set aside.


1. Heat oven to 500°F. Place a pizza stone or rimless baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven.

2. Place the ball of dough on a floured sheet of parchment paper. Use your fingers to stretch it out to a 10 inch diameter. Work from the center and be careful not to rip it. The center should be relatively thin. Around the edges of the pizza dough, leave a 1-inch border of slightly thicker, puffier crust.

3. Cover the dough with a towel and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and boil for about 3 minutes (they should be easily pierced with a fork but not falling apart). Drain and set aside.

5. Brush the dough all over with olive oil.

6. Spread 1/2 cup pesto over the dough (Leftover pesto can be placed in the fridge for up to one week). Sprinkle generously with mozzarella and arrange the potato slices over the cheese.

7. Transfer the pizza to the pizza stone and bake for about 10 – 14 minutes (until the crust is puffy and nicely browned).

8. Carefully transfer the pizza from the oven to a cutting board. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, top with a few fresh basil leaves and serve alongside some shredded Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 cup walnut pieces (4 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, quartered
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth

Preheat the oven to 400°. Put the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer the nuts to a plate to cool completely. In a small food processor or mini-chopper, combine the nuts with 1/2 cup each of the parsley and cilantro, the garlic and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Process to a paste. Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and process briefly to blend. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

In a large skillet, warm 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil over high heat. Add half of the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until browned, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook the mushrooms until the liquid evaporates and they brown again, about 8 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a large plate and repeat with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.

Return all of the mushrooms to the skillet and add 1/2 cup of the nut paste. Stir in the chicken stock, 1 tablespoon at a time, to make a sauce. Season with salt and pepper and transfer the mushrooms to a large shallow dish. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with the remaining 1 tablespoon each of parsley and cilantro.


- Experiment with other nuts : You might be able to do a nice alternative version of the walnut sauce with toasted almonds, or toasted pecans instead. Or a blend of whatever nuts you have available. I've been doing 100% walnuts but suspect using other nuts would be great. The key is seasoning well - salt, pepper, and a bit of lemon juice. Take your time getting this part right.

- Add some green ! Throw a bunch of broccoli florets or asparagus in to the pasta pot at the last minute to add a veg component to this without getting another pot dirty. We were out of both (yikes) or you would have seen one of them make an appearance here.

- Leftovers! Make a quick pasta & bean stew if you have leftovers. Combine the walnut-y pasta with some white beans in a saucepan. Add good tasting broth, heat, season, and add a bit of grated cheese to bring it all together. A handful of well-chopped kale wouldn't be unwelcome.

Glaced balsamic honey chicken with mediterranean herb polenta

A festive main dish recipe for balsamic honey chicken that´s very easy to prepare but looks really perfect and extravagant. The fine taste of honey harmonizes perfectly with the balsamic flavor of the balsamic honey chicken and the homemade walnut-herbal pesto with creamy polenta.

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

250 ml of balsamic vinegar

for the walnut herb pesto:

6 tbs fresh or dried herbs


Heat the oven for 175 degress. Stir the honey with a little bit of pepper and the balsamic vinegar until smooth. Put the chicken breasts into a box and pour it with the balsamic-honey marinade. Shut the box and shake it. Pour the walnut oil in a casserole, put the marinated chicken breasts on it and bake them for 35 minutes.

For the polenta: Heat the vegetable broth. When the broth is cooking stir in the polenta with a whisk. Let it simmer for 3 – 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and the grated parmesan. Flavour it with salt and pepper.

Put all the ingredients together and mix them in a blender or a mortar to a creamy, smooth pesto.

Serve the polenta with the diagonal sliced chicken breasts and top it with the pesto and some walnuts.

Salsa di noci (Ligurian Walnut Sauce)

I would venture to say that, other than producing Christopher Columbus, Liguria is probably best known as the home of pesto genovese, or basil pesto. But the region produces another kind of pesto, known as salsa di noci or Walnut Sauce, that deserves much more attention.

The most typical use of salsa di noci is to dress pansoti, or ‘pot bellies’, a kind of triangular Ligurian ravioli stuffed with cheese and an mixture of greens and herbs known as preboggion . But I find that walnut sauce works very well with all sorts of fresh or dried pasta or, best of all, gnocchi.

Traditionally made in a mortar and pestle, these days the food processor make short work of preparing salsa di noci. If you use store-bought pasta or gnocchi, you should be able to get dinner on the table in 15-30 minutes at the most.

Looks-wise, Walnut Sauce is not particularly spectacular—it’s rather pale and wan, in fact—but the taste is really something special. Nutty, of course… but the pinoli add a certain sweetness, the Parmesan savory umami, the bread and milk a gentle creaminess and the garlic a subtle hint of pungency. Try it and you’ll see.


  • 200g (7 oz) shelled walnuts
  • A handful of pine nuts
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • One slice of bread (or a dinner roll), crusts removed, soaked in milk and squeezed dry
  • 75g (2-1/2 oz) grated Parmesan cheese
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • A generous pinch of salt
  • Milk, about 125ml (3/4 cup) or q.b.
  • A sprig of fresh marjoram


Put the walnuts, pine nuts, garlic, bread, grated cheese, olive oil, salt and, if using, Greek yogurt in a food processor until you have a rough paste. Little by little, add the milk through the funnel of the processor until the mixture turns smooth and rather thick but rather soft. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Add the marjoram and give the sauce one more whirl.

Take your gnocchi (using this recipe for homemade potato gnocchi or just use store-bought) and boil them in well salted water until they come to the surface of the water.

Drain the gnocchi (but not too well) and transfer to a large warmed bowl. Add the walnut sauce and, if you like—although some sources call it heresy—a knob of butter. Mix gently with a spatula, adding a bit of the water in which you boiled the gnocchi to thin out the sauce if need be.

Serve immediately with additional grated cheese for those who want it.

Notes on Salsa di noci (Walnut Sauce)

The recommendation to add a spoonful of Greek yogurt may seem, at first blush, rather odd. But the original recipe for salsa di noci calls for something called prescinsôea, a kind of fresh cheese which is more or less impossible to find outside Liguria. It has a slightly tart taste, which Greek yogurt, along with parmesan cheese, is meant to approximate. (The original recipe for pesto genovese also calls for it.)


There are any number of variations for salsa di noci, or Walnut Sauce. Many recipes call for blanching the walnuts and removing their semi-bitter skins. I rather like the slightly bitter taste, so I don’t. But if you are put off by the slight bitterness the skins impact, by all means, you can add this extra step.

Most recipes call for grated Parmesan cheese rather than the original prescinsôea. Not all call for pine nuts or the marjoram. Some call for cream rather than milk which, of course, gives you an even richer sauce. Some say the garlic is optional—just about all will be discrete in its use.

In some versions of salsa di noci, the sauce is still rather rough, in others smooth—Le Ricette Regionali Italiane (Solaris) tells you to pass the sauce through a sieve. The sauce is sometimes quite thick, to the point that it’s rather sticky. Other times, as shown here, the salsa di noci is thin enough to “flow”, which is the way I prefer it. I add enough milk so that the Walnut sauce itself is fairly soft, then thin it out further with a bit of cooking water when mixing with the gnocchi. Be careful not to overdo it, or the sauce won’t coat the gnocchi properly.

Going further afield, you’ll find recipes that pair this sauce with Speck, the Tyrolean salumi, diced and mixed in with the gnocchi.

Post Scriptum

I published the original version of this post in July 2009, only a month after I started blogging. I’ve completely updated and re-edited it for reposting in January 2018.

33 Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes That Basically Make Themselves

Slow Cooker Sesame-Garlic Chicken or Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup?

If you own a slow cooker, then you know by now that it makes your dinners easier. But did you know it can make them healthier, too? These nutrient-dense meals are both healthy and easy, which is a winning combo in our book. To make these healthy slow cooker recipes, you'll need a slow cooker like a Crock-Pot or a multicooker (like an Instant Pot!) to get the job done. Thankfully, The Good Housekeeping Institute rounded up the best slow cookers on the market if you're looking to upgrade your appliance. Newer models offer safety features like auto shut-off and even wifi connectivity so you can switch modes from outside the house. Use your slow cooker to brown meat, simmer soups and stews, cook rice and more. Just set it and forget it, letting the appliance do all the work so you can come home to a hot, ready meal. (Bonus: The whole kitchen will smell amazing!)

If you're trying to eat healthy, a slow cooker can help you reach your goals by making it easier to prepare vegetables, brown rice, beans and lean proteins like chicken and turkey. These recipes emphasize good-for-you ingredients while churning out the warm, comforting meals you've come to expect out of your slow cooker. And if you end up falling in love with your appliance like we did, you can buy the Good Housekeeping Slow Cooker cookbook for even more recipe ideas right here!

Watch the video: Pesto od sremuša (August 2022).