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Parsley and sage walnut pesto recipe

Parsley and sage walnut pesto recipe

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This recipe makes a very tasty, quick and easy pesto with walnuts and sage in place of the pine nuts and basil. It's ready to use right away but I like to make it a day or two before I need it so the flavour can develop.

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IngredientsServes: 12

  • 100g walnuts
  • 60g flat leaf parsley
  • 10g fresh sage leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 80ml extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste
  • 40g grated Pecorino cheese, or more to taste
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

MethodPrep:15min ›Ready in:15min

  1. Process walnuts, parsley, sage and garlic together in a food processor until coarsely ground. With the food processor still running, slowly stream olive oil into the mixture until completely integrated into a smooth mixture. Add Pecorino cheese, salt and pepper; continue to process until the mixture has the consistency you like.

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If I had to choose a favorite pasta sauce, dipping sauce, eat-straight-out-of-the-jar sauce, PESTO would be IT! Parsley Pesto, Spinach Pesto , Olive Pesto … I got all them recipes on dis blog, and I love ’em all equally.

Traditional Italian pesto is made with basil. It’s a classic sauce, but it sure doesn’t hurt to try different ingredients.

With its combination of olive oil, nuts, and Parmesan cheese, pesto is in fact a healthy addition to yo’ tummy. While it is higher in calories and fat, it’s still unsaturated fat, and pesto is packed with nutrients and health benefits.

Health Benefits of Parsley Pesto

  • Parsley is high in antioxidants, it improves digestion, and has antibacterial properties.
  • Olive Oil can protect against heart disease, has anti-inflammatory properties, and is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, among other things.
  • Walnuts are also good for the heart, they contain calcium and iron, and are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is, make this real soon and EAT all of it! It’s good for you! The cheese, not so much, but a girl’s gotta live. And eat.

Please reach for some parsley, walnuts, cheese, garlic, and olive oil – we’re about to prepare something so good and so delicious.

Great meals to enjoy this Parsley Pesto with:


  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup tightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh sage leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste
  • ⅓ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, or more to taste
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Process walnuts, parsley, sage, and garlic together in a food processor until coarsely ground. With the food processor still running, slowly stream olive oil into the mixture until completely integrated into a smooth mixture. Add Pecorino Romano cheese, salt, and pepper continue to process until the mixture has the consistency of a loose paste.

Sage Walnut Pesto

½ cup (1/2 oz.) grated Parmesan

½ cup (3 ¾ oz.) extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine first six ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend to a rough puree. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the machine running stream in the olive oil. Add the zest, lemon juice, then taste and add salt to taste. Adjust seasonings to your preference.

Sage Pesto Roasted Chicken

1 medium-size whole chicken (about 4 pounds)

salt and pepper (about ¾ teaspoon kosher salt per pound)

A day or two before roasting generously apply salt and pepper all over the chicken – inside and out. I’ve done this a few hours before and it’s been fine but if you are a better planner than me, I highly recommend salting the bird at least a day in advance. The salt has a chance to permeate the bird replacing the awkward mess of a wet brine.

Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to roast. Make sure the chicken is in a pan with sides so the juices don’t leak on to anything in the fridge.

When ready to roast pre-heat the oven to 450* for at least 30 minutes prior to roasting. Cover the chicken with the sage pesto and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Place the chicken in a shallow roasting pan breast side up. Place in the oven then roast for 30 minutes. Carefully flip the bird over and roast another 15-20 minutes. Carefully flip over once again and finish breast side up for another 5-10 minutes. Total roasting time should be 50-60 minutes.

Remove from the roasting pan and lest rest for 15-20 minutes before cutting.

Sage Pesto Vinaigrette

2 teaspoons champagne vinegar

Combine the pesto and vinegar in a small bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil while continually stirring. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

Simple Sage Pesto

Aside from a stick of butter and a hunk of parmesan, pesto is one of my favorite pasta toppers. The only thing better than pesto would be a creamy pesto….which is basically pesto, cream (butter) and cheese. See a pattern here?

What’s even better about pesto is it takes about no time to whip together and you can use, pretty much, any herb or green leafy thing to make it. Pesto does not have to be committed to basil. Which is great for all of us basil growers because as a basil grower you will know that this is not a good time of year to grow basil. Unless you own a greenhouse. Which I do not.

So, as I procrastinate harvesting the remaining, sad-looking basil from my little garden I have a bumper crop of sage to take care of. Stat!

That’s where this pesto idea comes in. And to be honest…I didn’t change a thing from my original basil pesto recipe, which now I realize I never posted.

It’s so simple it’s silly. I can’t believe anyone would even buy it in a store anymore…especially since it freezes beautifully! And you don’t have to only use it for pasta, it also makes an excellent replacement for pizza sauce or a drizzle of pesto on a broiled salmon filet is worth serving to your inlaws. Sage also goes VERY well with fall produce, roasted butternut squash is amazing tossed in this stuff!

Take 10 minutes and give it a try. I promise….it will take you longer to do the dishes.

Simple Sage Pesto

Makes approximately 8 ounces

2 cups fresh sage leaves, loosely packed

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

a pinch each of salt and pepper

In the bowl of a food processor (or in a blender), add the sage, garlic, cheese and pine nuts. Pulse the ingredients a few times until chopped. In a steady stream, slowly add the olive oil while the food processor or blender is running. Stop to scrape down the sides once with a rubber spatula and add the salt and pepper. Run the processor for a few more seconds to combine thoroughly.

Transfer the pesto to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. The pesto will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Parsley: More Than a Garnish

This is a really delicious version of pesto. Like any pesto, it's simple to make in a food processor. Because there are so few ingredients, it's important to use very fresh herbs, along with good quality olive oil and Parmesan cheese.

This simple sauce is versatile, too. Toss it with your favourite pasta, or use it as a pizza sauce, or on sandwiches, (my hubby loves it on a beef dip) tacos, or dressing up grilled meats, fish, or veggies.

Do you have parsley, too? If so, you might also like Chimichurri sauce, another delicious way to use it up. And if you love pesto, check out Walnut Sage Pesto for another delicious variation.

My Pesto Turning Brown

While homemade pesto is super easy to make it will oxidize when exposed to air or heated up.

If you want your pesto to remain bright green, fill a large bowl with cold water and several ice cubes and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and sage and parsley leave and blanch for 15 seconds. Immediately remove the herbs from the boiling water and place in the ice water bath.

Once cooled, drain. Squeeze the leaves to remove all excess water and lay them on a paper towel. I personally don’t care if the sage pesto remains bright green so I skip this step, but if it is important to you, then go for it.

Pesto is loaded in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats from the olive oil and walnuts. The roasted red peppers are also high in vitamins.

Use fresh herbs to make the pesto. Never use dried herbs as it tastes completely different.

If stored in an air-tight container in the fridge, it will last a week. You can also place in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Roasted sweet potato with parsley & walnut pesto

This roasted sweet potato with parsley & walnut pesto dish is the first recipe I’m making out of Melissa Delport’s new cookbook Heal. I adore roasted sweet potato wedges and love how they are almost effortless to make. The parsley and walnut pesto which blends into a delicious and vibrantly green sauce takes them to the next level. The recipe is vegan.

Heal is Melissa’s second cookbook (her first being the bestselling ‘Whole’) and is packed from cover to cover with nutritious plant-based recipes for a full spectrum of eating occasions. Melissa’s philosophy starts with a balanced approach to food when on the path to health and wellness. This is in no way a diet book but rather a roadmap encouraging readers to listen to their bodies when making decisions about what to eat. Melissa draws inspiration from Ayurvedic practices, and the spiritual mind-body connection can be felt throughout the book. This along with nutritiously dense and high fibrous recipes makes you feel a little glowy even while reading it.

How people cook and eat is a language, and I love to learn new ones along with approaches to ingredients and flavour combinations. Melissa is not shy to add a large number of ingredients to a recipe adding so much flavour and texture. They are all very approachable and apart from certain seasonal ingredients and the odd superfood powder or elixir, are readily available. A trip to your local health shop will be required here and there but if you are not cooking with nutritional yeast by now you really should be. The recipes are vegetarian and Melissa gives options to make most of them vegan too.

I found the recipes in Heal very comforting and I can’t wait to make her Island salad in summer when stone fruit comes back. Her green shakshuka is firmly on the list for a brunch soon along with her spanakopita with dill and feta. There is a chapter with recipe ideas for children and one for snacking and indulgent desserts. Heal is available from all good bookshops and online.

*Cooks notes – I adapted Melissa’s recipe for pesto because I wasn’t sure how much parsley was in her bunch so I probably made a smaller quantity, but it was a good amount for this recipe (with a little leftover for sandwiches). My body doesn’t like raw garlic in sauces, so I used Zahav’s method for hummus where I soak the crushed garlic in the lemon juice for a bit to infuse then strain out the bits. I left off the lemon zest here out of personal preference and not wanting any more bitterness. I also sprinkled chopped walnuts over at the end because I love a crunchy element but this is optional. A sprinkle of chilli flakes, (or powder) or paprika could also be nice here to offset the sweetness and add a dash of fire.

I served this to friends on Friday night and it was equally nice at room temperature as a kind of a salad.

Recipe – serves 4 ish as a side (6 if there are other sides) – adapted from Melissa Delport

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Walnut Sage Pesto

Last year at this time I’ve made Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Plums and Cashew Sauce which was a sweet dish and this year I’m going more classic – Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Walnut Sage Pesto. It’s a simple delicious and comforting recipe you could easily make for weeknight dinner. Sage is one of the herbs that I really love, but somehow don’t use very often and if you like me hopefully you welcome the reminder.

I love everything about this recipe, the buttery tasting squash, sage, walnuts, sunflower seeds and fresh parsley. There’s texture, creaminess and flavour.

I have purposefully overdone the squash, because I love the caramelised flavour, it was a very large squash and it took only about 40 minutes. It would have been done in 30 minutes for a lighter more stringy texture. Do roast it just as you like it.

This pesto recipe is a bit more nutty, if you like the pesto to be more vibrant green you will have to add extra parsley. You can toast the walnuts and sunflower seeds first before making the pesto, I’ve made it both ways and I think it tastes lovely either way. The second time I’ve added some nutritional yeast which added extra depth to the pesto. I recommend trying it with and without to see which one you prefer.

I love eating this dish inside the spaghetti squash and I highly recommend it. Once the squash is ready gently pull the inside of the squash to create spaghetti like strands, but leave some around the edges, top with the pesto, chopped walnuts, sunflower seeds and fresh parsley. If you like you can also fry few sage leaves for an extra touch. Enjoy :)

Pesto, 3 Ways

Robin Miller cilantro almond pesto over chicken with a side of carrots.

Check out my three recipes for pesto. The base for all three is the same (1 cup leaves, 1/2 cup nuts, 1/2 cup broth, 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, salt and pepper). The broth keeps the pesto nice and light. Once the basic ingredients are blended, I adjusted to create unique and sublime concoctions. I added ginger to the cilantro and almonds, Parmesan to the sage and walnuts, and lemon to the parsley and pine nuts. Take note, you’ll want to make big batches – these pestos last for at least one week in the refrigerator and they’re not just great for main dishes, they make excellent sandwich spreads and dips for crackers and vegetables.

I serve this pesto over roasted chicken but it’s also amazing with steak and seafood. For a little heat, add 1 teaspoon wasabi paste.

Place the almonds in a small dry skillet and set the pan over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the nuts are golden brown and toasted, shaking the pan frequently. Transfer the nuts to a blender and add the cilantro, broth, ginger, garlic and oil. Puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

This pesto is excellent with roasted pork tenderloin, pork chops and roasted chicken.

Place the walnuts in a small dry skillet and set the pan over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the nuts are golden brown and toasted, shaking the pan frequently. Transfer the nuts to a blender and add the sage, broth, cheese, garlic and oil. Puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I like to spoon this pesto over roasted fish, shrimp, scallops and chicken.

Place the pine nuts in a small dry skillet and set the pan over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the nuts are golden brown and toasted, shaking the pan frequently. Transfer the nuts to a blender and add the parsley, broth, cheese, garlic, oil, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of the finely grated lemon zest. Puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.