Kirsty’s Pesto Possibilities


A bright alternative to traditional basil-pinenut pesto that comes together quickly and may be used in a variety of easy, delicious dishes.

My husband doesn’t love traditional basil-pine nut pesto as I do, so I came up with this alternate version a few years back and both he and my stepdaughter absolutely love it – and so do I! It comes together quickly if you’ve got access to the fresh ingredients and a food processor or blender, and it tastes SO much better than most versions you buy in the grocery store. And the possibilities for its uses are inspiring and many! Toss it with pasta as I do in my “4P” Pasta recipe… 

Use it in my Yogurt-Pesto Marinated Roast Chicken recipe…

Simply drizzle it over a piece of grilled salmon, swordfish or halibut…

Mix it with fresh mozzarella cheese balls, ripe baby tomatoes, and a dash of balsamic for a Springtime Caprese-style Salad.

And the list goes on… Kirsty’s Pesto freezes great in jars and thaws out quickly with a quick zap in the microwave.

These are all the ingredients you need – so pretty!



A food processor helps it come together quickly,  but you could also macerate it all together by hand with a mortar and pestle, old school.




Don’t forget to top it with a layer of olive oil before storing to keep it fresh and green!

Kirsty's Pesto

A light and bright alternative to the traditional basil/pinenut pesto with a variety of uses.
Prep Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Quick & Easy, Sauce
Servings: 6
Author: Kirsten Getchell


  • Food Processor or Blender
  • Microplane
  • Grater


  • 1 bunch basil about 1 1/2-2cups
  • 1 bunch parsley about 1 1/2 cups-2cups
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil extra virgin


  • Prepare the ingredients.
  • Put 1 large or 2 smaller peeled garlic cloves in a small bowl of boiling water and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Warm a small pan on the stove and add walnuts for a few minutes until lightly toasted. Remove walnuts to plate and let them cool.
  • Pull or cut parsley leaves off the thick stems - softer/smaller stems are okay to add. Discard any thicker stems or save for another use.
  • Pull or cut basil leaves off the thick stems - softer/smaller stems are okay to add. Discard any thicker stems or save for another use.
  • Grate or measure out ½ cup or so Parmesan.


  • Put the garlic cloves, basil and parsley in a food processer or blender, and give it a few good long pulses until roughly chopped.
  • Add the toasted walnuts, and give it a few more pulses to incorporate.
  • Add the grated Parmesan, and give it a few more pulses to incorporate.
  • With the little top of your processor or blender off, drizzle in the olive oil while the food processor is pulsing/on.
  • Take the whole top off and add a few grinds of black pepper, a good pinch or two of Kosher salt, and using a microplane add the zest of your lemon, and then a good squeeze of lemon juice from half the lemon.
  • Put lid back on and pulse to incorporate again. (If you want a thinner consistency, add more olive oil.)
  • Transfer the pesto into a jar or two and top with some olive oil to seal.
  • Keep in the refrigerator for up a week, or place in freezer. The pesto thaws out quickly with a quick zap in the microwave.

Serving Suggestions

  • Toss with pasta – particularly great with sauteed peas, pancetta and parmesan.
  • Mix with Greek yogurt to make a marinade for chicken pieces.
  • Dab on top of cooked fish such as roast or grilled salmon, halibut or swordfish.
  • Toss with fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese and a dash of balsamic.

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @kirstys-table on Instagram and hashtag it #kirstys-table.

Join the Conversation

  1. 5 stars
    The best pesto I’ve ever had!!

  2. 5 stars
    Fantastic! And tastes wonderful on so many dishes! x

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© Kirsten Lara Getchell 2020. All rights reserved.