Presto! It’s Pesto! This fresh and vibrant recipe brings together 5 simple ingredients to create a super versatile pesto that is a powerhouse of flavour and nutrition!
With Spring in bloom, I thought it might be nice to share a recipe that is reflective of the season. With its fresh flavours and bright green hue, this recipe screams Spring in all its beautifully vibrant glory. It’s a true culmination of bold flavors. With an abundant hit of freshness from the spinach and basil, creaminess from the walnuts and olive oil, down to the zing of the garlic, you’ll always be sure to have one dy-no-mite pesto!
This is one of the first recipes I created when I changed my diet. During that time, I was on a very restricted diet and it was incredibly challenging when I had to go out. I could no longer just eat on a whim. As I’ve shared in my bio, when at social gatherings, I often found myself forced to nibble on fruits and veggies because there was nothing else I could eat. It was one of the hardest parts of my journey, but also an integral part of it as well. It motivated me to do everything I could to heal and restore my body.
It also taught me to always be prepared and carry a snack with me at all times. Fruits and nuts were easy go-to’s, but there were times I wanted to change it up. Plain veggies were not my favourite choice but with a dip—now, that was a different story! With store-bought dips no longer being an option, what was I to do? Then the idea hit me. Why not make pesto? Creamy, smooth, and yummy—that just might work. I put my own spin on the traditional pesto to create a gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan-friendly version, and voila! My Basil Walnut Pesto was born.
I also love this recipe because it’s packed with protein from the walnuts, which will give you an energy boost and help keep you feeling full longer. Which is why it’s such a great healthy snack. It’s easily portable, making it super convenient for school lunches, snacks on the go, or even work. Not only does this pesto make a great dip, but it’s also very versatile. Here are my 5 favourite ways to use this fantastic recipe!
• DIP: I absolutely love it as a dip! It pairs beautifully with fresh veggies. My favourites are carrots, celery, and cucumbers. Any veggies you choose will take it to a whole new world. You don’t have to feel bad about dunking your veggies into this dip! Everything in it is super healthy, yet it feels indulgent because of its rich, creamy texture. So go ahead, dunk away!
• BAKING SAUCE: Looking for a new way to cook your chicken or fish dish? Just take some of this pesto, slather it on top, and bake it! It’s that easy. Pair with some roasted veggies or rice, and you got yourself one tasty meal. For my vegetarian and vegan friends, take some pesto, mix with your fave veggies, and roast for a beautiful veggie dish.
• PIZZA: Want to try something different for your pizza? Swap out the tomato sauce and try some pesto instead! It creates a whole new flavour profile and a lot of fun to eat too! I mean, who doesn’t love pizza?
• SPREAD: Ever thought of trying pesto for your sandwich and wraps? Just use in place of butter or mayo, and you got yourself one flavourful spread to amp up your sandwich!
• PASTA SAUCE: This no-fuss sauce can elevate your pasta in a flash. It’s a simple way to have a creamy pasta dish without the cream. Cook your favourite pasta, mix with the pesto, and that’s it! You got yourself one flavorful pasta dish to enjoy.
• SPINACH – is rich in antioxidants and can help prevent heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and has protective effects on memory and eye health.
• BASIL – helps balance PH levels in the stomach, aids in digestion, decreases harmful stomach bacteria, thus creating a healthier digestive system.
• WALNUTS – contain a high level of antioxidants and omega-3s and are a great source of plant protein to help boost energy levels.
Basil Walnut Pesto
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 1 cup walnuts, halves*
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 whole garlic clove
- ½ tsp black pepper (adjust to taste)
- ½ tsp sea salt (adjust to taste)
- mini processor/food processor (or high-speed blender)
- small/medium metal bowls (or ceramic bowls)
- measuring cups
- wooden spoon
- salad spinner
- kitchen towel (or paper towel)
- Peel the garlic clove and set aside. Wash basil and spinach (separately) in cold water, thoroughly. Put through a salad spinner to remove excess water or pat dry (very gently) with a paper towel or kitchen towel. Place in a bowl and set aside.
- Put the walnuts, olive oil (only half), and garlic into a food processor or high-speed blender. Blend for a couple of minutes until everything is a nice paste-like texture.
- It's time to add in the greens! Add a little at a time to ensure everything is well incorporated. Add the rest of the oil we reserved earlier. Blend for a few minutes.
- Repeat adding the greens and continue blending until you get a nice smooth velvety consistency.
- TIP FOR BLENDER: The greens can be finicky and not blend together well on the first try. So a small trick to help is to stop the blender, unplug it, use the back of a wooden spoon and press the greens down into the walnut mixture. It helps it to blend together better. It is a little extra effort, but promise you it is totally worth it!
- TIP: If it's having a little trouble blending together, not to worry, drizzle a little more olive oil to help it along.
- Lastly, add the seasoning, give it one last whirl, and presto! Your pesto is ready to enjoy!