Vegan Parsley Walnut Pesto

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This vegan parsley walnut pesto is a nice change from the traditional pesto and doesn't contain any cheese! Top it on pasta or any protein of your choosing to take your meal to the next level. Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. 
A photo of a bowl of vegan parsley walnut pesto with a spoon in it surrounded by a bulb of garlic, half a lemon, a bunch of parsley and walnuts on a table.
A photo of a bowl of vegan parsley walnut pesto with a spoon in it surrounded by a bulb of garlic, half a lemon, a bunch of parsley and walnuts on a table.

There is nothing better than homemade pesto. Though it’s typically made with basil and pine nuts, did you know you can use other herbs and nuts or seeds to make pesto? You can!

I love this vegan parsley walnut pesto version because it’s so easy to make! Parsley is available at your local store all year long for when basil is not as accessible. Plus, walnuts are are great swap for pine nuts. They’re cheaper and more versatile, so I tend to always have them on hand!

I’ve always been more of a meat and potatoes girl. However, my mom’s side of my family is Italian so we tend to go out to Italian restaurants for special occasions.

Nowadays, I stick with the chicken and vegetable dishes when we go out, but there was a time when I would order pasta. But it couldn’t just be any kind of pasta.. it had to be covered in pesto.

There’s something about noodles covered in a thick, green pesto sauce that gets me every time. So earthy and rich and everything that is good in the world. Don’t stop there with the pesto though – pesto is great on fish, sandwiches, and pizza.

An overhead photo of a food processor filled with fresh parsley, garlic, walnuts, and salt to make vegan walnut parsley pesto.

Why I love this vegan pesto recipe

If you can’t eat dairy, don’t fret! Since dairy traditionally has pesto in it, I thought that my time with pesto had come to an end when I found out about all of my food restrictions.

So when I came up with this recipe for parsley walnut pesto that was also vegan, I was thrilled! You won’t even miss the cheese in this recipe. I started eating it straight out of the jar not sure what else to put it on, but believe me, I have found ways to use this amazing spread in every way possible! I can’t wait to make some cauliflower pizza to spread it on!

The nuttiness of the walnuts pairs so well with the earthy parsley in this recipe! I love to toast my walnuts before making this pesto to really bring out the flavor of the walnuts. If you haven’t tried it before, it’s very easy to learn How to Toast Walnuts! I highly recommend it in this recipe.

Here’s what you’ll need

Ingredients:

  • Parsley
  • Olive Oil
  • Walnuts
  • Garlic
  • Salt

Equipment:

  • Food processor
  • Measuring cup
A photo of of a bowl with quinoa and chicken topped with homemade vegan parsley walnut pesto.

FAQs and Tips

How do you store homemade pesto?

It’s best to store homemade pesto in a glass jar with a lid in the refrigerator to keep it as fresh as possible.

How long does pesto stay fresh?

Since there are no preservatives in homemade pesto, use it within one week. You will have to stir it before use.

Can you freeze unused pesto?

Yes! Freezing homemade pesto is a great way to extend its shelf life. I like to spoon pesto into a silicone ice cube tray and freeze until solid. Then, place in a freezer safe bag or container until ready to use. Just thaw the portion that you need! Frozen pesto will last up to 4 months!

Can I substitute parsley for something else?

You sure can. Basil, cilantro, arugula, and kale all make great substitutions for parsley. You can swap them out or use a combination of these greens!

What are some substitutions for walnuts?

I typically opt for a mild nut like walnuts over pine nuts, because pine nuts are SO expensive. Plus, I always have walnuts on hand. However, pine nuts can definitely be used! Almonds and pecans are another good option!

Can I add cheese to this recipe?

You definitely can. I actually prefer the taste of pesto without cheese (gasp! I know.) because I think it lets the herbs, olive oil and seasonings shine through. However, you can easily add parmesan cheese to this recipe!

Looking for ways to use pesto? Try these recipes

More Homemade Pesto Recipes

An overhead photo of a small bowl filled with vegan parsley walnut pesto with a spoon, fresh parsley, walnuts, garlic and lemon on a table.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to know! Please rate it and leave a comment below. You can also share your pictures and tag @adashofmegnut on Instagram.

A photo of a bowl of vegan parsley walnut pesto with a spoon in it surrounded by a bulb of garlic, half a lemon, a bunch of parsley and walnuts on a table.

Vegan Parsley Walnut Pesto

This vegan parsley walnut pesto is a nice change from the traditional pesto and doesn’t contain any cheese! Top it on pasta or any protein of your choosing to take your meal to the next level. Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. 
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiments, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 234kcal
Author: Megan

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped parsley (about 50g from 1 bunch)
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts (roughly chopped (56g))
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

  • In a food processor, combine parsley, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Pulse until combined.
  • Slowly drizzle in the oil until the mixture is smooth and reaches desired consistency (at least 1/2 cup up to 3/4 cup).
  • Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 300mg | Potassium: 115mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1264IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @ADashofMegnut or tag #adashofmegnut!

This recipe was originally posted on June 16, 2015 and updated on July 12, 2020 with new photos, tips and tricks to help you make this easy vegan parsley walnut pesto perfectly every time!

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13 Comments

  1. Wow, this looks delicious! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I LOVE, love, love pesto! I recently came across an organic sundried tomato basil pesto at Costco and I’m in love! I would highly recommend it. Pesto, whether the traditional type or the not-so-traditional tomato type, just makes everything better!

    1. Thanks Sara! I kind of want to slather pesto on anything and everything now haha. I’m headed to Costco today so I’m definitely going to check out the sundried tomato pesto! Thanks for the recommendation 🙂

  2. Hi, This pesto looks delicious. I too am a big fan. I love how it’s so versatile, I often make mine with spinach when I don’t have enough herbs to hand! Lovely post, keep up the good work on the blog.

  3. ….so I shared your post and my silly Dad say, “get rid of the parsley and pesto and it wouldn’t be too bad!” lol (he likes walnuts:)) My daughter uses parsley, I use spinach, but I’m going to try your version, it’s so pretty, after all. Then dad says, “whats Megnut?” to which Mom relpies, “maybe the opposite of nutmeg/” hehe, and this conversation is going on, on my share of your blog! Moms and Dads are so amusing:)

    1. omg this seriously made me laugh out loud! Sooo funny! Parents are super funny that way! Also I’ve had a few people ask me this week what Megnut was so your dad is not alone 😉 thanks for the chuckle!!

  4. Hello! I don’t know what went wrong but my pesto came out so weird. The walnut flavor is way strong and I’m not sure if tart or bitter is the right description for the flavor. Maybe I chopped the walnuts too small so it was packed in the measuring cup too much? I added more parsley and that really didn’t help much. I really hope you will see this to help me out. I did follow the instructions exactly, but I didn’t know if the cups of parsley were to be packed or loose, and I did packed since all the other pesto recipes I’ve tried are packed. please advise and thanks!

    1. Hi Zarmene! There could be a few reasons for this. Did you happen to try any of the walnuts before putting them in the pesto? Did they taste bitter on their own by chance? Sometimes that happens with walnuts. It could also be the oil – what kind of oil did you use? You can try adding a pinch of sugar to the pesto to see if that takes away the bitter taste.

  5. Amazing recipe!! I’m on a budget so I used sunflower oil instead of olive and sunflower seeds instead of walnuts and it turned out great!

  6. 5 stars
    I love pesto and usually make it with basil. There was so much parsley in the garden, so I decided to look up a recipe. This is great! Thank you. I try to have as much pesto on hand as possible – it goes on so much!!

    1. So glad you enjoyed it Lynn! It’s one of my favorites – I always have so much leftover parsley from recipes that parsley pesto is always being made in our house!

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