At this time of year, when there’s still lots to harvest but winter beckons, my squirrelling instincts always set in. Squash are stored on shelves in the cool of Guy’s work-shop, their seeds are being saved for granola and of course my shelves are groaning with preserves. As I look at the stored cob nuts and walnuts though, I fear that my squirrelling may becoming a bit too literal!
Still, these lovely local nuts are wonderful in my latest pesto combination. I find a jar of home-made pesto in the fridge so useful in lots of ways. First of all, it’s a cunning way of feeding lots of nutritious greens to my 6 year old daughter, hence my enthusiasm for Kale Pesto in the winter and Wild Garlic Pesto in the Spring. Also, it’s so quick to whizz up in the food processor, stores in olive oil for a few weeks in the fridge and offers an easy supper with pasta for those nights when there isn’t much time or there’s a shortage of food in the kitchen.
Due to my preoccupation/obsession with growing, cooking, eating, I have to admit the shortage of food bit happily doesn’t happen often in this house. But I love having a spoon of lovely intense flavour to hand, so useful to stir into soups, add to bruschetta and tarts or anoint tomatoes with.
Just as I often use pumpkin seeds instead of nuts in pesto (you may of course even use the original and authentic pine nuts!) my herbs/greens vary according to what’s tasty and plentiful. At the moment I keep casting glances at the lovely, lush parsley hedge. Wondering, as temperatures drop, how long it’s going to be quite so abundant. Batches of pesto made with parsley can be frozen in small portions (I add the cheese after retrieving from the freezer if this is my plan) which seems to me a great way of squirrelling away this tasty herb while it’s still abundant.
Parsley and Walnut Pesto
75g shelled walnuts
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
50g parsley leaves
175 ml rapeseed or extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Sea salt & ground pepper to taste
50g Grana Padano cheese, grated
Put all the ingredients except the cheese and salt & pepper in a food processor and blitz. Pour into a bowl and add cheese and season to taste. You may need to adjust the amount of oil, depending on the consistency. If you’re freezing, add it to small freezer bags at this stage, adding cheese and seasoning after it’s defrosted. If you’re going to use immediately or store in the fridge, add the cheese and season to taste. It will keep in a jar, covered in olive oil for a couple of weeks.
If you still have any tasty tomatoes to hand, they’re lovely roasted with olive oil and eaten on top of pasta mixed with this pesto and some goats cheese. I also love Louisa of Eat Your Veg‘s recipe for roast mushrooms with pasta and this pesto.
Just dipping some good bread in a bowl of parsley and walnut pesto is yummy too. And having just read quite how rich parsley is in antioxidants, iron, Vitamin C and Vitamin A and how walnuts are an excellent source of healthy omega 3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, this is definitely nutritious snacking.
A great way of showing that parsley is so much more than a cursory garnish too!
The lovely photos in this post were taken by my friend Chava Eichner, who used some of this pesto with her very tasty looking squash and bean soup.
And as this pesto uses handfuls of parsley, would love to enter it into Karen at Lavender and Lovage’s inspiring Cooking with Herbs.
That looks wonderful – I bet it tastes good
Thanks and yes, I think nuts, parsley, olive oil and salty cheese has to be tasty.
I was thinking exactly the same thing while looking at my parsley the other day – it’s daone really well this year. I make pesto with it and freeze it in ice cube trays. After trying freezing with and without the cheese, I’ve decided it doesn’t make much difference. So I just bung it all in – less faffing about when you get it out to use it.
Great idea to freeze it in ice-cube trays and that’s interesting that it freezes fine with cheese. Maybe I need to make another batch while the parsley is still good…
Lovely tips and recipes. Good to be reminded pesto is not all about basil and pine nuts.
Thanks Evie but actually I think I sometimes need reminding that basil is about basil and pine nuts!
I love adaptations on the classic pesto and walnuts are so good at this time of the year. This would make a welcome change fro the usual basil recipe I make!
The classic basil variety is very good isn’t it – but it’s rare that I have enough basil growing to make pesto and I definitely think parsley and walnuts are delicious too.
Yum. I’ve tried pumpkin seed pesto and love that, this sounds even better.
I love pumpkin seed pesto too, another great healthy one – and they’re cheaper than pine nuts.
Parsley pesto on bruschetta sounds really good – I’ll have to make some… or maybe lots if it can be frozen for winter flavour!
I have so many things I want to freeze for winter flavour (can almost see the chard wilting/well at least not looking quite as perky in the cold from the window now) think I need to get another freezer.
How delicious… and different! Walnuts are a favourite at our place… I think I must give your recipe a try xo
Thanks Lizzy and hope you like it if you give it a go – let me know.
Yum, yum, yum! I love pesto, and would love it with pumpkin seed, thanks for the tip! I particularly like how variations of pesto don’t tend to go brown like the traditional basil version does.. x
You’re right, It’s so long since I’ve actually made an authentic basil version I hadn’t actually thought of that, but parsley pesto is a lovely vivid green.
Lovely fresh and vibrant pesto for this time of year.
I adore kale and this looks delicious, what a beautiful colour too.
Thanks – I think I owe a lot to my great photographer friend Chava for capturing the colour.
Great idea to use pumpkin seeds in pesto, I’ll have to try that. Your garden sounds wonderful in its abundance. GGGLAMOROUS
Far from glamorous I’m afraid, though it did make me smile/perk me up to see that G word and my garden in the same sentence.
LOVE the fact that you made pesto with local ingredients and made it your own Andrea! Karen
Thanks Karen, have just made some more today. We had a frost this morning and it panicked me into picking more parsley in the sunshine later in the day while it’s still there looking lush!
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Andrea – Lovely pesto. I pinned it immediately and look forward to making it. I adore pestos that utilize different herbs. Great photos and fabulous recipe! – Shanna
Thanks Shanna, hope you enjoy it!
Lovely recipe Andrea. In fact I did not see this but made a coriander and pistachio pesto recently and agree whilst the basil version is wonderful it is nice trying different herb and nut combinations.