Few things taste like summer more than a freshly made pesto. Each pesto lends its unique flavor to enhance your recipes, whether you are tossing it with grilled vegetables, serving as a dip or spread, adding a dollop to soup, or using it as the base for a marinade or aioli.
Adapted from “Clean Start” by Terry Walters.
Click here to see the Polenta Pizzas recipe.
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 cup toasted walnuts
- 1 ½ cups packed flat-leaf parsley
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Sea salt
With food processor running, drop in garlic and process until minced. Turn off processor, scrape down the sides and add walnuts, parsley, olive oil, and lemon juice. Process to mince all ingredients together. Season to taste with salt and thin with olive oil to achieve desired consistency. Refrigerate or freeze in airtight container until ready to use.
- 1 cup walnuts
- 6 pickled Calabrian chiles or 1 Fresno chile with seeds
- 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
- 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan, finely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 3/4 pound bucatini or spaghetti
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until fragrant and slightly darkened, 8 minutes. Let cool.
- Pulse 3/4 cup walnuts in a food processor or blender until very finely chopped (but not pasty). Reserve remaining walnuts for serving. Remove stems from chiles add to food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Transfer walnut mixture to a medium bowl and stir in garlic, Parmesan, oil, and 1 cup parsley. Season pesto with salt and pepper.
- Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot and add pesto along with 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Toss, adding splashes of cooking liquid as needed, until pesto coats pasta and sauce is glossy.
- Crush reserved walnuts with the flat side of a knife. Divide pasta among bowls and top with walnuts and more parsley.
- Pesto can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.
- chop garlic separate parsley leaves from stems. Once garlic is chopped and parsley leaves are pulled from stems, put ingredients into a blender / food processor and mix until well blended.
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Let's go nuts
I like food with a bit of ritual attached to it. I don't mean bloodthirsty sacrifices or arcane, robed ceremonies (that's just Sunday lunch at my Mum and Dad's). Rather, I'm talking about simple rituals of preparation in which the soothing and absorbing work you have to do to get certain ingredients ready for consumption is integral to their appeal. Such gentle labours are often among the great joys of autumn and winter food, when ingredients tend to be less immediately edible than they are in summer.
I've just spent a very pleasant hour munching my way through the first pile of this year's wet walnuts, and the "work" involved in doing so was a deeply pleasurable part of the process. The time spent cracking the nuts and extracting the kernels in relation to the time spent actually eating them can be expressed as a ratio of about 10:1 - but that all adds to the fun. Walnuts in their shells are perfect slow food, nourishing you not just with their goodness, but with compulsory time off. Time to gossip with whomever you're sharing your stash. Or, if you're a solitary nut-nibbler, time simply to contemplate the universe. Nuts are good for that.
Wet walnuts are a true seasonal treat, available for just a few weeks each autumn. They sound a bit messy, but don't worry, their hard, usually slightly grubby (because unpolished) shells are quite dry - on the outside. It's the inside that's "wet" - still juicy and fresh, in its just-picked state. The pale blond kernels are firm but yielding, without the brittle crispness of a dried nut. And the flavour is mild, milky and sweet, with just a hint of that tannic edge that makes walnuts the sophisticate of nuts.
They work their best magic as a stand-alone seasonal treat - I wouldn't dream of cooking with them, though I might, once in a while, use a crisp, tart apple - ideally an Ashmead's Kernel or early-season Cox, as an inter-nut palate cleanser.
Wet walnuts may be the apex of nutty indulgence, but that doesn't mean I'm down on the "dry" or "old" ones. These - with the crisp, dark kernels with which we are all much more familiar - have been kiln-dried to help them keep longer. And that brings its own pleasures. The drying process draws out a great depth of flavour, taking the bitter, tannic note to another level.
These nuts are also good for cracking and munching straight from the shell. And, though cursed by the under-10s for taking up valuable stocking space, Christmas wouldn't be the same without them. But their potential as a cooking ingredient is seriously underrated. I'm the first to admire a good coffee and walnut cake (just check out your local WI market), but that's only the beginning.
Walnut and parsley pesto
Pesto is, of course, perfect with pasta, but I also serve this one as a sauce-cum-relish with grilled lamb chops or steak. Serves four.
1 fat garlic clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
100g hard, mature goat's cheese (or Parmesan), grated
50g flat-leaf parsley leaves
About 150ml good olive oil (or extra-virgin rapeseed oil)
Juice of ½ lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the walnuts and garlic into a food processor and process until finely chopped - but still with some granular texture. Add the cheese and process again briefly. Add the parsley and blitz again to chop the leaves, then begin trickling in the oil, while the processor runs. Stop when you have a sloppy purée. Taste, season as necessary with lemon juice, salt and pepper. If you don't have a food processor, you can make the pesto with a large pestle and mortar, crushing the ingredients together in the same order.
Store in the fridge - if you completely cover the surface of the pesto with oil so all air is excluded, it should keep for a couple of weeks.
Walnut and honey soda bread
Sweet and savoury at the same time, with an incredible depth of flavour, this quick bread is wonderful with cheese. Serves six.
500g wholemeal flour
4 tsp baking powder
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/ gas mark 6 and lightly oil a baking sheet. Divide the walnuts into two roughly equal piles. Put one half into a food processor or a mortar, then crush to a coarse powder. Using your hands, break the other pile of walnuts into large, rough chunks. Put the honey in a pan with 300ml water and heat gently until the honey dissolves.
Put the flour, baking powder, salt and all the walnuts in a large bowl and combine. Pour in the honey water and mix to a soft dough.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface, shape it into a rough, round loaf and place on the oiled baking tray. Slice a deep cross into the top, going almost right the way through to the baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until well risen and golden brown. Remove, set aside to cool and serve immediately - at the very latest, eat within 24 hours.
Walnut pastry twists
These nutty sweetmeats can be eaten as canapés, paired with a coffee or served with fried apples, ice cream or all manner of autumnal puds. It's important to use a good, all-butter pastry. Make your own rough-puff, or use a good one such as Dorset Pastry's organic one (dorsetpastry.com). Makes about 30.
100g good-quality plain dark chocolate (or high-cocoa milk chocolate), broken into chunks
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
500g puff pastry
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Lightly grease a couple of baking sheets. Put the walnuts, chocolate and orange zest in a food processor and chop fairly finely.
Roll out the pastry to about 3mm thickness, then slice into strips roughly 4cm by 12cm. Brush each strip with the egg wash (beaten egg and milk), then scatter with a layer of the chopped walnut mixture. Press it lightly into the pastry. Form each strip into a twist. Transfer to the baking sheets.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden and puffed up, then remove from the oven and, while still hot, dust generously with sifted icing sugar. Leave to cool before serving.
You’ll want to use a food processor to ensure that the sauce has the best texture. You want it blended, but still a little chunky (a high speed blender would make a totally uniform and smooth sauce). I would also recommend using a good quality olive oil (I used high quality extra virgin olive oil).
Simply add all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until you get a consistent texture. Then drizzle in the olive oil and pulse until it’s incorporated.
Preheat oven to 350°. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until fragrant and slightly darkened, 8–10 minutes. Let cool.
Pulse ¾ cup walnuts in a food processor or blender until very finely chopped (but not pasty). Reserve remaining walnuts for serving. Remove stems from chiles add to food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Transfer walnut mixture to a medium bowl and stir in garlic, Parmesan, oil, and 1 cup parsley. Season pesto with salt and pepper.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot and add pesto along with ½ cup pasta cooking liquid. Toss, adding splashes of cooking liquid as needed, until pesto coats pasta and sauce is glossy.
Crush reserved walnuts with the flat side of a knife. Divide pasta among bowls and top with walnuts and more parsley.
Do Ahead: Pesto can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.
How would you rate Bucatini with Walnut-Parsley Pesto?
I decided to switch up my pasta tonight with something different! Glad I tried this. I'm definitely going to remember this for weekday dinners as it was very quick and simple to put together.
My husband, who isn't typically that in to pasta or veg options, loved this. You could use spaghetti but bucatini is a nice change. Rustica d➫ruzzo brand makes it though it's rather expensive (&5.99/lb at my store) luckily it was on sale when I bought it.
Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.
I strongly believe that most peoples experience of the classic basil pesto is an unpleasant one as basil deteriorates so quickly if not carefully handled. As a result it is generally rancid. Don't misunderstand me, basil pesto in the correct condition is one of the great sauces and for certain dishes it is irreplaceable.
This parsley pesto made to the classic recipe has a special flavour all of its own. It is very good in soups and broths, on bruschetta, with grilled or roast fish, poultry and meats and on pasta.
It keeps well in the fridge for up to two weeks.
25g parsley, weighed after removing tough stalks
25g pine nuts
1 fat clove garlic, crushed to a paste
75-150ml extra virgin olive oil
40g finely grated parmesan
Pinch of Maldon sea salt
Place the parsley, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse chop to a fine crumb. Add the olive oil in a stream to achieve a soft consistency. Add in the grated parmesan.
Taste and correct seasoning with the addition of a pinch of sea salt.
Spring Wild Garlic Pesto
Replace the parsley in the master recipe with wild garlic leaves. Finely chop the wild garlic before adding to the machine, as otherwise it may end up being a little stringy and proceed as in the above recipe.
Rocket Leaf Pesto
Remove the tough stalks from the rocket leaves before weighing and continue as in the master recipe.
I only make this classic sauce during the summer months when fresh local basil is available and then I use a pestle and mortar which imparts a particular consistency which I enjoy. However you can achieve a perfectly good result using a food processor.
Remove the tough stalks from the basil leaves before weighing and continue as in the master recipe adding the oil immediately so as to protect the torn basil leaves from the air. As basil oxidizes and becomes bitter after the leaves are chopped or broken, it is essential to get the oil in straight away and to cover the pesto with a layer of olive oil and chill it as soon as possible
Clams in garlic butter with parsley soda bread
This elegant recipe uses parsley in the garlic butter sauce as well as the crusty homemade soda bread. It’s perfect for making the most of clam season.
Smoked trout and pea frittata with parsley and red onion salad
A bunch of parsley and red onion make the base of a sharp, herby salad that goes perfectly with a smoky, golden frittata. All ready in under 30 minutes.
Tagliatelle with parsley and hazelnut pesto
Mix up your usual pesto by swapping basil and pine nuts for parsley and hazelnuts. Fragrant, filling and fast – it’s a perfect veggie midweek meal.
Confit salmon with lemon and parsley salsa
This recipe for confit salmon with lemon and parsley salsa is great if you need to feed a crowd. Cooking the salmon in olive oil gives it a silky texture and stops it from drying out.
Gorgonzola gnocchi with parsley salad
The best comfort food is the recipe that can be made in a flash. This vegetarian gnocchi recipe is topped with creamy gorgonzola and a quick parsley, caper and red onion salad, to create a special dinner for two.
Tuna fishcakes with parsley and caper salad
The flavourful parsley and caper salad compliments these golden tuna fishcakes perfectly, which get the potato and fish balance just right.
Griddled tuna with olive and parsley salad
The green olive and parsley salad adds herby flavour and a lovely sharpness to this simple, quick tuna steak. Easy enough for a midweek meal and special enough for an occasion.
Pasta with crisp chorizo, olive oil and parsley
Impress friends and family with this simple but delicious chorizo, parsley and pasta recipe. Toss in some bocconcini with the parsley for extra flavour.
Lemon sole with brown shrimp butter
This dish might be quick and easy, but it certainly doesn’t feel everyday – it makes for an elegant date-night meal. Use parsley instead of chives in the brown butter.
Pear, chicory and blue cheese salad
A supremely colourful winter salad that combines creamy blue cheese (ideally dolcelatte) with red onion, pears, red chicory, parsley and walnuts, plus a quick red wine vinegar dressing.
Chorizo, potato and parsley tortilla
Add chorizo and half a bunch of parsley to this classic Spanish recipe for extra flavour and a vibrant colour.
Butternut squash, feta and parsley patties
The best way to use up leftover squash and parsley. Mixed with feta and pine nuts, they make quick-to-cook patties or mini burgers. Good for a midweek meal for two or as a hearty lunch for one.
Parmesan and parsley-crusted salmon
The cheesy parsley crust makes this quick and easy salmon dish. It’s a great way to get more fish into your diet. Try leaving out the lime juice and spice it up with paprika instead.
Clams cooked in cider with smoked bacon, chorizo, parsley and chilli
This is the sort of dish that needs to be cooked and eaten straight away. Clams aren’t expensive and are wonderful paired with parsley, bacon, chorizo and chilli.
Fennel, courgette, peas and parsley make for a wonderfully green risotto, flavoured with a little nutritional yeast in place of parmesan.
Chop parsley and mix into the beautifully spiced beef mince, as well as the zingy red onion salad. Serve on a slick of hummus for a perfectly balanced meal.
Crab on toast with caper and parsley mayo
Liven up lunch time with this quick crab on toast. Crab is combined with lemon, shallot, capers and topped with parsley mayo. On the table in 10 minutes and no cooking required.
Grilled goat’s cheese with walnut and parsley pesto
Parsley and walnuts whizzed into a pesto really lift this grilled goat’s salad, cutting through the creaminess beautifully. This is a great autumn dish and makes for an impressive dinner-party starter.
Recipe: Creamy Chicken Salad with Parsley Walnut Pesto & Sun-Dried Tomatoes
You can never have too many chicken salad recipes in your arsenal, especially with engagement party and bridal shower season upon us — it’s the quintessential dish for casual entertaining. I guarantee this version, with its delicious parsley walnut pesto, will be your favorite for years to come.
I decided to create a solid pesto recipe for the base, but I also wanted to switch things up a bit. The world doesn’t need another basil-pine nut pesto, at least from me anyway, so instead I subbed in parsley and walnuts — two much more budget-friendly ingredients that are always easy to find. I folded in sun-dried tomatoes to add a pop of color and a hint of mayonnaise to bring a certain creaminess. All together they take this pesto to another dimension, y’all!
When it came to the chicken breasts, I took some extra steps to help them reach poached perfection. Using aromatics, herbs, and white wine helped boost their overall flavor, and finishing off the heat helped the breasts stay moist and juicy. And while usually I prefer shredded meat for my chicken salads, this time I went with cubes to really show off the bright color and bold taste of the pesto.
In the end, all of the ingredients came together to create a truly sublime chicken salad. The resulting recipe is delicious enough for any spring or summer party, but easy enough for a casual weekend lunch at home, two qualities that make it ideal for entertaining!
Parsley Walnut Pesto
- Author: Paige Adams
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: –
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 cup 1 x
Pesto doesn’t require basil. Instead try another fresh herb. Toss this versatile parsley walnut pesto in pasta or in grains like barley or quinoa.
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Finely chop the garlic in a food processor. Add the parsley, walnuts, Parmesan, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and process into a paste. While the food processor is running, pour the olive oil in a fine stream until the pesto is smooth.