Parsley-walnut pesto: $1.12/serving

Apologies for the dearth of posts the past few days; we had company over the weekend, and while I did try and cook at least some of the time, I wasn’t keen on interrupting the day’s activities to sit down and write about it. But I’m back now, and with a surplus of parsley growing wild and neglected in the Aerogarden. I’ve had reasonable success growing parsley outdoors, but WOW this stuff loves growing hydroponically. I can hardly keep up, which is exactly why this pesto might soon be in the regular rotation. Even if you don’t grow your own parsley, a bunch is usually less than 50 cents at the grocery store as opposed to $1.99 or more for half that amount of basil, and it works wonderfully with inexpensive walnuts instead of $26.99-a-pound (yes, that’s what they cost at my grocery store…IN BULK!) pine nuts. B. and I both think it tastes just as great as “regular” pesto, plus it gets dinner on the table in less than 2o minutes and makes excellent lunch leftovers.

As below it makes about 4 generous servings.

• 2 cups (loosely packed) parsley leaves (garden): $0
• 3/4 cup walnuts: $1.20
• 2/3 cup olive oil: 60 cents
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish: $1
• 2 T lemon juice (about 3/4 of a regular-size lemon), plus 2 tsp lemon zest: 45 cents
• 2 large garlic cloves, crushed: 2 cents
• 1/2 tsp table salt: 1 cent
• 1 lb. pasta of your choice: $1.19
TOTAL: $4.47/4 = $1.12/serving

Combine all the ingredients (minus the pasta) in a blender or food processor.

Blend or process.

Cook pasta until al dente according to package directions. While still hot, mix with the pesto. Serve with extra cheese, if desired.

9 responses to “Parsley-walnut pesto: $1.12/serving

  1. My mother never uses pine nuts when she makes her pesto. I didn’t even know it included it until fairly recently. She said her main reason for opting out was the price. But she also makes a huge batch, fills up an ice cube tray and freezes. Once frozen she individually wraps each cube so she only needs to defrost what she needs. She said on top of the cost, the pine nuts don’t freeze well.

    I haven’t made pesto in a while. It really is an underrated sauce. And if you add it to some mayo, it tastes great on a sandwich.

  2. The 20-Something Budget

    We’ve been experimenting with various substitutes for pine nuts, since they are SO expensive. Hoping to post the results when we’re done. 🙂

    Also, I’ve never had parsley pesto… do you prefer the taste over basil, or do you just happen to have a lot of parsley available?

    • I had a surplus in our Aerogarden, more than I knew what to do with, so this was the only thing I could think of that would use two packed cups’ worth of the stuff. I love basil, but unless I’m growing it myself, it’s just not affordable.

  3. Walnuts do freeze very well. I had a walnut tree once, and as walnuts will go rancid after a while, I always froze some after I opened them. You might not even taste the difference.

  4. I grow alot of basil and parsley but have never tried a parsley pesto before. I’ll have to give this a try as simply hate seeing anything waste. My father in law makes a garlic pesto with the greens from the over 1000 bulbs he grows each year and it’s amazing….even slathered on a fresh piece of HOT bread from the oven. YUM… now I’m hungry and it’s only 5am…. Cheers Mr.CBB

  5. This is so timely… We have a huge herb garden growing in our back yard which includes both basil and parsley. Though the basil is doing fine, the parsley is growing like a weed and I have had no ideas what to actually use it for aside from garnish. I have frozen standard pesto using a similar-but-different recipe, and it has done fine – I actually thought the pine nuts froze just fine, but Loverman didn’t care much for it. Different palettes, I guess. In my experience freezing nuts by themselves (including walnuts) is just fine – it actually extends the life of the nut, from what I have read (i.e. it keeps them fresher longer), so I would anticipate this would work well with freezing a parsley-walnut pesto. But I am no expert. Only one way to find out, I suppose!

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