Pesto Without Garlic & Pine Nuts

Pesto Without Garlic & Pine Nuts

Pesto, the beloved Italian sauce made with fresh basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts, has been a staple in many kitchens for generations. However, what happens when you can’t find pine nuts or have a nut allergy? Fear not, because there are delicious and easy ways to make pesto without pine nuts that will have you never looking back to the traditional recipe again.

I often make homemade pesto without pine nuts but never without garlic. It was a hectic day and it was going to be my first day working at a friends office. I work as a freelancer and I live alone (except when the kids come to sleep) and I can go for days without any adult conversation. Great for adding a boost of flavour to ham hock, pea and pesto soup.

Pesto Without Garlic

I had also made some couscous with roasted chicken wings. Yes I was hoping I could share the office again. When I placed them on the table Kate asked what the green suff was. I told her my homemade pesto, “I don’t like pesto” Kate replied but I will try some.

Well dinner time came and Kate tried a little, to her own surprise she actually liked it. Then she asked did I put garlic in it , erm I usually do but I wasn’t sure this time. Actually it did taste like pesto without garlic, which I may add isn’t a bad thing. Or did I put in the roasted garlic I did with the chicken wings ? Or did the roasted garlic just go in the couscous. I wasn’t sure.

When I got home the mystery was solved, the garlic cloves I intended to use were still on the kitchen side.

walnut pesto with pasta and tomatoes

Walnuts For Pesto & Other Nuts

This actually came about because I could not find my pine nuts anywhere. Just moved house and I wasn’t sure if I brought them with me . Never mind I had walnuts so I toasted them up and now more often than not I now use Walnuts in pesto. It packs so much flavour and so versatile, pesto makes a great burger topping.

Celebrities Walnut Pesto

It wasn’t until after researching for this post that pesto with walnuts was an actual thing. It seems everyone has a recipe of this simple pesto. Jamie Oliver Pesto, Mary Berry Pesto everybody has one so you have to make one and make it your own, It Is so simple and quick to make your own pesto.

How To Make Pesto

Time needed: 5 minutes

How do you make pesto

  1. First decide what nuts you want to use

    you can use pine nuts, walnuts or pecan nuts

  2. Toast the walnuts, pecan and pine nuts

    you can do this either in a dry frying pan or you can roast them in the oven for 10 minutes

  3. Adding the toasted nuts to the blender

    add the toasted nuts and whizz up until fine

  4. adding the Parmesan cheese

    now add your hard cheese to the blender and whiz. preferable Parmesan or pecorino cheese

  5. Adding the Basil

    now add the basil to the blender and give a quick whiz

  6. Adding the olive oil

    now add the olive oil to the walnuts cheese and basil. Also season with salt and pepper, the oil is to your desired consistency

pesto without garlic

Pesto Without Pine Nuts

A take on a traditional pesto but with walnuts
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Course garnish
Cuisine Italian
Calories 1778 kcal


  • handful of walnuts
  • 3 pecan nuts
  • 1 bag basil
  • 3 slugs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • First toast the walnuts and pecans in a frying pan for around 4 mins to release the oils
  • Next, add the nuts to the food processor and pulse until the nuts are ground 
  • The add the rest of the ingredients of cheese basil and oil and whiz
  • If you are lucky enough to have a food processor with a hole in the lid ad the oil a little at a time until you reach your desired constancy. 
  • Serve with you favourite dish, pasta, chicken


Calories: 1778kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 27gFat: 180gSaturated Fat: 27gPolyunsaturated Fat: 45gMonounsaturated Fat: 98gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 1081mgPotassium: 724mgFiber: 8gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 5193IUVitamin C: 134mgCalcium: 596mgIron: 5mg
Keyword pesto
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Everything You Wanted To Know About Making Pesto

How Do you Make Pesto

Pesto is a simple blend of nuts, cheese, basil and olive oil

What Nuts are used to make pesto

The most common nut that is used in pesto is pine nuts

Can you use any other nuts apart from pine nuts to make pesto

Yes you can use other nuts than pine nuts. Walnuts are often used to make pesto. You can also use walnuts to make pesto. Sometimes Pecans are used to make pesto. You can also use almonds to make pesto. Pistachio nuts are also used to make pesto as well. all these nuts are a good substitute for pine nuts and are usually not as expensive as pine nuts

What Herbs Do you use for Pesto

Traditionally basil is used to make pesto

Can you use another herb for pesto as a substitute rather than using basil

Yes Basil can be substituted when making pesto. Parsley can be used to make pesto. Tarragon can be used to make pesto. Mint is a great substitute for basil for pesto. Sage can also be used to make pesto. Coriander also works well with a pesto Any soft herbs that you can grow

Do you have to use garlic to make pesto

no you can make pesto without garlic.

Is there anything I can do so the garlic in my pesto isn’t so strong

Yes you can roast the garlic first and this makes the garlic taste so much less. You can also boil garlic in water and it retains the flavour but it isn’t as pungent

What type of oil do you have to use making pesto

Olive oil is traditionally used to make pesto but you can use a variety of oils. You can use vegetable oil to make pesto. Sunflower oil can be substituted for olive oil. Canola oil can also be substituted for olive oil

will using different oils effects the taste of my pesto

Yes using different oils will effect the taste of your pesto. Vegetable oil virtual no taste at all. Thats fine because the herbs and nuts bring the flavour.

Can you substitute the cheese when making pesto

Yes you can use other cheeses when making pesto. Gruyere, Parmesan, Pecorino, Asiago, Romano and Cotija can be substituted if Parmigiano-Reggiano isn’t a cheese readily available

Can you make a nut free pesto

Yes you can make a nut free pesto by substituting the nuts for sunflower or pumpkin seeds

Great recipes to use your pesto on. Any pasta of course Puttanesca would be perfect