Parsley Pesto Recipe

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This budget friendly version of pesto will be your new favorite way to use up all of your leftover parsley! Parsley pesto with walnuts is so delicious on pasta, sandwiches, steak, and chicken.

Parsley Pesto

Whenever I have extra parsley on hand I always make this!  It’s so easy and is legitimately one of the best homemade pestos I’ve ever had.

This budget conscious pesto is made without basil, and uses parsley instead. I don’t know about you, but where I live they sell tiny little packs of basil, and I’d have to buy a ton of them to make a whole batch of pesto.

Pine nuts are also pretty pricey, so we’ll swap those for walnuts. Two simple changes without sacrificing any flavor!

Parsley pesto is popular in Australia, and I can definitely see why. If you like Chimichurri, you’ll love this sauce! 

Parsley pesto in a small bowl.

What Can I Do With A Lot Of Parsley? 

If this recipe doesn’t use up your entire bunch of parsley, you could make Parsley Cilantro Pesto (better known as chermoula). You could also try some of our reader favorite recipes with parsley:

Can I Use Parsley Instead Of Basil In Pesto?

Yes! This recipe is made without basil and it turned out just as good! You can even make a combination basil and parsley sauce if you have both on hand. I would not recommend swapping for kale as it tends to be noticeably bitter.

Labeled ingredients for parsley pesto in a food processor.

How To Make It

You’ll want to use a food processor to ensure that the sauce has the best texture. You want it blended, but still a little chunky (a high speed blender would make a totally uniform and smooth sauce). I would also recommend using a good quality olive oil (I used high quality extra virgin olive oil).

Simply add all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until you get a consistent texture. Then drizzle in the olive oil and pulse until it’s incorporated.

Pesto in a food processor after blending.

How To Store It

This pesto will last roughly 5 days in the fridge if you store it correctly. Make sure you place it in an airtight container or jar. It can oxidize fairly quickly, so make sure it’s airtight! It’s helpful to pour a thin layer of olive oil on top of the sauce before you close the container, too.

Can You Freeze It?

Yes! This pesto lasts for up to 6 months in an airtight container in the freezer. I’d recommend first freezing the sauce in an ice cube tray. When you want it later for cooking you can pull out only what you need.

A side image of parsley pesto in a bowl.

What Does Parsley Taste Like?

Flat leaf parsley tastes bright, fresh, and herby. 

What Type Of Parsley Should I Use?

I recommend using fresh Italian flat leaf parsley. It has a lot more flavor than curly parsley. Curly leaf parsley has very little flavor, tastes more bitter, and is normally used for decoration.

Can You Eat Parsley Stems? 

Yes, but they’re more bitter than the leaves. I find that the tender stems work well when used in addition to the leaves in blended sauces. The tender stems are the portion that start at the leaves – the stems below that are tougher and more bitter.

A close up of blended parsley pesto in a food processor.

What Can I Use Instead Of Parmesan?

I recommend using nutritional yeast when you don’t have any parmesan on hand.

Is This Recipe Gluten Free?

Yes, all the ingredients used in this pesto are naturally gluten free.

Is It Keto?

Yes, this is made with low carb ingredients. It would taste great with zoodles!

Can I Make This Vegan?

You can make this dairy free simply by omitting the parmesan and adding a little more salt and some nutritional yeast to replace the flavor from the grated parmesan. Make sure to taste the sauce before adding more salt though.

Can I Make This Nut Free?

You can make this without the walnuts, however it would be a much thinner sauce. Try making this with sunflower seeds for a nut free sauce that mimics the texture of pesto.

A close up showing the texture of pesto in a small bowl.

Optional Alterations

  • Add Some Jalapeno (to make it spicy)
  • Use Different Nuts (cashews would be my first choice, but you could use almonds or macadamia nuts)
  • Additional Fresh Herbs (you can add a little fresh oregano, mint, or dill if you love any of those flavors)
  • Make It A Vinaigrette (add some lemon juice to thin it out and add the acidity to make a vinaigrette dressing – this would be great on salads or grilled vegetables)
  • Add Some Black pepper (for a bit of spice)
  • Use More Garlic Cloves (if you love garlic, feel free to add more)

What To Serve This With?

I love serving this on top of a slice of toasted grilled bread to elevate bruschetta to the next level. It’s also a great topping for steak.

Here are a few other uses:

  • Pasta (especially spaghetti, gnocchi, or pasta with peas)
  • Pesto Pizza
  • Quinoa Salad
  • On a Sandwich (as the sauce – so great with grilled cheese!)
  • As a Dip (for vegetables, roasted cauliflower, grilled halloumi, and sauteed crispy tofu)
  • Make Pesto Eggs for Breakfast
  • On Baked Chicken
  • As a Buddha Bowl Sauce
  • With Fish (especially halibut and salmon)
Pesto in a bowl surrounded by ingredients.

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Yield: 8 servings

Parsley Pesto

Parsley pesto in a small glass bowl surrounded by parsley, garlic, and parmesan.

This budget friendly version of pesto will be your new favorite way to use up all of your leftover parsley! Parsley pesto with walnuts is so delicious on pasta, sandwiches, steak, and chicken.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups roughly chopped parsley (lightly packed)
  • 2/3 cup shelled walnuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 medium garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2/3 cup good quality olive oil

Instructions

  1. Add the parsley, walnuts, parmesan, garlic, and salt to a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients reach a uniform texture (this shouldn’t be more than 10 seconds or so).
  2. Pour in the olive oil and pulse until it’s incorporated into the pesto.

Notes

If you need a really thick pesto (like to go in something baked, such as a roll up), you can increase the walnuts to 1 cup and decrease the olive oil to ½ cup.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:

1/8

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 245Total Fat: 25.1gCarbohydrates: 3.3gNet Carbohydrates: 2.3gFiber: 1gSugar: 0.3gProtein: 3.5g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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A Pinterest pin image showing two pictures of parsley pesto with title text in the middle.

Be sure to try this quick and easy Parsley Pesto tonight!

Parsley pesto in a small glass bowl surrounded by parsley, garlic, and parmesan.

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