Food / Sauces, Dressings + Spice Blends

Homemade Basil and Walnut Pesto

Friends, I’m on a homemade condiment kick.

I won’t lie — I buy jarred pesto from the grocer quite often. Though I love homemade pesto, it hasn’t quite turned me into a purist in the same way that homemade ketchup has. (Never buying ketchup again. That recipe is coming soon!)

But all summer long, my balcony has been taken over by my basil plants. This year was my first time planting an urban garden and despite my fright at first blush, I’m feeling pretty confident in my basil-growing abilities these days! /flex

I’d normally chalk pesto up as more of a summertime post, but now is the perfect time to turn your overabundance of herbs into tasty things you can pack up and freeze before those frosty mornings turn up.

So here we are.

Side note: if any of my pals need basil, I’m your gal!

Homemade Basil and Walnut Pesto | Killing Thyme

If you love pesto, make sure to check out my Garlic Scape Pesto as well. Garlic scape season is well past us now, but save it for next year because it is goooooooood.

Need some inspo for putting your pesto to use? These Egg Noodles With Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Mushrooms is an easy weeknight wonder that takes a measly 15 minutes (or less!) to throw together.

Homemade Basil and Walnut Pesto | Killing Thyme Homemade Basil and Walnut Pesto | Killing Thyme

Making this recipe? Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram: @Killing__Thyme /#killingthyme. For more delish eats, follow me on INSTAGRAM + PINTEREST.
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5 from 1 vote

Homemade Basil and Walnut Pesto

This herbaceous homemade basil and walnut pesto is perfect for pizzas, pastas, breads, and more.
Course Condiment
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 cups
Author Killing Thyme


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated romano or parmesan-reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped See notes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, more to taste

materials needed

  • Food processor or high-power blender


  • Put the basil leaves and walnuts into your food processor or blender and pulse it several times to grind the ingredients. Add cheese and garlic, and pulse a few more times. With a silicone or rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the container.
  • Run the food processor on a low setting and, while running, slowly add the olive oil in a light stream. This will to emulsify the mixture and keep the olive oil from separating. If needed, you can stop halfway to scrape down the sides of the food processor.
  • Add the salt and cracked black pepper, give it another quick spin in the processor or blender, and taste. Adjust salt and pepper to your preference.
  • Slather it over pizza, serve it with bread, toss it into pasta, or eat with crackers! 


To toast walnuts, heat a dry pan over medium-low heat. Add the walnuts and heat until golden brown, stirring/tossing occasionally. This should take approx. 5 minutes in total. Keep a close eye on them as once they start to toast, they toast very quickly and can burn. 
Homemade Basil and Walnut Pesto | Killing Thyme


  • joyxemazza
    August 27, 2019 at 2:07 am

    5 stars
    i love fish and food and i kove your recipes i will be following your site often please keep those yummy recipes comin

  • […] peak! Making things from-scratch is a fabulous habit to get into (I can attest to this after making pesto and ketchup from scratch this summer), and this book sets you up with an easy recipe that promises […]

  • Karen Ahmed
    September 17, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Dana, I love your posts! Your photography is STUNNING!

  • thefoodblognet
    September 17, 2017 at 12:07 am

    Hi Dana, When I saw this post, I had to comment. Not only because this pesto looks amazing, but because I have a post for pesto scheduled as well. I guess that’s what happens when we need to use up those herbs. Great minds…:-) Walnuts are so good in pesto, and since they grow here I usually use them in pesto. Congrats on your first urban garden, the basil looks awesome!

  • Denise from Urb'n'Spice
    September 15, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    I am so happy to see that you toast your walnuts for your pesto – that extra little step certainly does make the difference, doesn’t it? I am on my fifth harvest of basil, so I can see making your Homemade Basil and Walnut Pesto in my very near future. Thank you for sharing, Dana

  • Gabrielle @ eyecandypopper
    September 15, 2017 at 10:54 am

    I always use walnut too in my pesto, I love the taste! If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll throw in some pine nuts too. haha Can you imagine I used to hate pesto? I realized only a few years ago that I don’t like store-bought pesto, but I looooove my homemade one (which is very similar to yours, except I use nutritional yeast instead of cheese because my hubby can’t have dairy). Who knew?! And congrats on growing some food on your balcony, way to go!

  • naterlee
    September 12, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    I always use walnuts too, all that omega 3! oily fishy is not a food I can stomach ?

    • Killing Thyme
      September 12, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      Oily fish certainly isn’t for everyone! (Though I love it, haha.) Walnut definitely add that extra oumph, and honestly, toasting them brings out extra nuttiness and who needs pine nuts, really!?


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