Sunshine in a jar – lemon and walnut pesto

I love pesto! On toast, tossed through pasta, on pizza, on crackers with cheese… Anything goes.

Pesto is a summer staple as soon as the basil gets going. In WA it grows like a weed. My basil has a powerful flavour, the wine guy can smell it in the air when I’ve been “messing with basil” as he cleans the pool.


2 cups of leaves – I use mostly basil with some parsley or rocket
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 girls size handful of broken walnuts
Roasted garlic (I use 2 or so cloves of roasted garlic as it’s sweeter and less full on than the raw biz)
1/3 cup of finely grated parmesan (or a bit more if you like it cheesy)
Zest and juice of one big juicy lemon
Olive oil – the best quality you have

Roast the nuts very lightly (go easy, brown nuts = brown pesto).

Put everything except the olive oil in your trusty food processor. Pulse until it’s roughly combined. Scrape the sides down with a rubber scrapey thing. If you can, add the olive oil in a dribble stream with the food processor on a slow speed until your pesto is the right consistency. If you can’t, add a gloop and pulse. Scrape, gloop, pulse until you have what consistency you want.

Scoop the glorious greenness into a jar and lightly bash the bottom of the jar on the bench until the pesto settles and the air is mostly out. Add a wee dribble of olive oil to seal the top and pop into the fridge.


1. If you use enough lemon, your pesto won’t go brown and will preserve for ages. If your lemon wasn’t juicy enough, you may have to top with olive oil to keep it green.

2. This pesto freezes beautifully for ages. Ages for me was a couple of months, it never lasts longer than that! In emergencies microwave your frozen jar for 30 secs – 1 minute. It seems ok with this and doesn’t spoil.