Fresh Basil & Walnut Pesto

Pesto is a personal thing. In our house, we love it with rich, toasted walnuts, heaps of garlic, sharp parmesan, not too oily and quite chunky. Others might people prefer it with creamy cashew, just a hint of cheese, lashing of olive oil to help it coat pasta (or spaghetti squash!), silky smooth, or perhaps even with a squeeze of citrus. 

So, this one is totally customisable - it's the only pesto recipe you'll ever need! Have a play with it and make tweaks to suit your personal taste. No matter what you do, if you're using fresh, high quality ingredients, it's going to taste ridiculously better than the packaged stuff... of course ;-) 

I personally don't season my pesto with salt and pepper. It's so packed with flavour already, I find it doesn't need it. If you decide to do so, remember to go easy on the salt - the parmesan will be doing most of that work for you already! 

Makes 1 cup of pesto


  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped into quarters
  • 1 large handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup good quality parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tbs


  1. Heat a fry pan over medium heat and lightly toast the walnuts for 5-7 minutes. Be careful not to burn. Set aside.
  2. Heat the 1 tbs olive oil in the fry pan over medium heat and fry the garlic quarters until golden.
  3. Add walnuts, garlic, basil, parmesan and the remaining olive oil to a blender. Blitz on low speed at first (so as not to overheat your blender), and increase gradually if possible. Process until pesto reaches your desired consistency.