recipe classic pesto

The best thing about a classic is that it never gets old. Pesto is arguably one of the most versatile sauces in cooking. Add it to pasta, use it as a dip, or even add it to soups to add an earthy richness. The greatest part about pesto is that once you learn the foundation of the recipe, you can swap out and experiment with different herbs and nuts and spices with ease.

This recipe uses walnuts instead of the traditional pine nut, but feel free to use whatever nuts you have on hand. Because pesto is such a simple recipe, the quality of the ingredients that you use really make a difference. Use a nice olive oil and try to get your hands on some fresh herbs – we promise you won’t regret it.

Pesto also freezes really well, so make a huge batch and keep it for later!


If you are enjoying this recipe series, you can check out the previous CSA recipe here:

Open-face Cucumber Sandwich

Psst, some of our Johnson Fitness & Wellness stores are actually CSA pickup locations! We’ve got free totes to carry all of your goodies in. The CSA program that we use is organized by Westridge Organic Produce. To find out more about our local Madison, WI CSA program, you can go here!



Classic Pesto:


  • 3 cups basil leaves
  • 1 cup roasted walnuts
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs nut yeast or parmesan
  • 2 Tsp garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chili powder (optional)



  • Roast walnuts at 350 degrees for 15 min.
  • When cooled, add all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until desired texture is reached. Add more spices to taste.


  • Dip for fresh veggies, crackers or pita chips
  • Sandwich spread
  • Sauce for pasta, gnocchi or roasted cauliflower
  • Dilute with oil and vinegar and use as a salad dressing
  • Dress up other dips: mix into hummus or sour cream

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