Walnut Sage Pesto is the delicious result of a sage explosion in the garden. It grows well in our climate, and we've had an extremely hot, dry summer, which is perfect for sage.
Pesto Is Magical
I hate to see anything from the garden go unused, so I've been trying out new ways to use up this wonderful herb. And if you have a lot of herbs and a food processor, homemade pesto is incredibly easy. It's hard to believe something so delicious is this crazy simple to make. But it is. Simply combining fresh green herbs with garlic, olive oil, nuts and Parmesan cheese is an almost magical transformation.
Walnuts and Sage Are Delicious In Pesto
Pine nuts are the traditional ingredient, but I like to use walnuts in homemade pesto. We can get them locally, and the slightly bitter, nutty taste is perfect in this sauce. There's something magical about the flavour marriage of toasted walnuts and sage. It's like they were made for each other. They compliment each other beautifully and the fresh, yet earthy flavours together just scream "fall". Be sure to toast the walnuts first for a toasty (of course), the extra depth of flavour. I also used toasted walnuts in this Parsley Walnut Pesto.
Sage is a very potent herb, so a little goes a long way. I have a lot of sage, so I can be choosy and use just the small, new leaves, which are milder in flavour. But if you don't have your own crop, it's very easy to find bunches of fresh sage at this time of year. Sage tastes both bitter and sweet, and the pungent flavour that it adds to this walnut sage pesto is really amazing.
How To Use This Pesto
Because of its strong flavour, this walnut sage pesto stands up well to cooking. As in, heating it before adding pasta, or using it as a pizza base. But, don't be afraid to try it just as is. Try it as a dip for fresh apples or pears, for a sublime fall appetizer. And this stuff, it smells amazing. Use it as a topping for grilled chicken or seafood, or grilled or roasted veggies. Try it on roasted butternut squash or spaghetti squash.
Try Some More Sage, Too
If you want to try sage in more dishes, check out Herb Grilled Chicken Thighs, or Blueberry Sourdough Sausage Stuffing. And winter is coming. So if you want to preserve some of your fresh herbs to use during the colder months, here are some ways to do it: Preserving Fresh Herbs, 6 Ways
Can You Freeze Pesto?
Yes! If you have a lot of summer herbs, pesto is an ideal and easy way to use them and it freezes beautifully. You can put pesto in ice cube trays to use in pasta or any other sauces. Or, you can try this freezing method that I'm doing this year. From The Kitchn.
Walnut Sage Pesto
- 1 cup fresh sage leaves
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- ½ cup toasted walnuts
- 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- zest of one lemon
- ½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- In a food processor, pulse sage and parsley leaves, garlic, walnuts, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper until smooth.
- With motor running, slowly pour in olive oil.
- Turn off motor and stir in Parmesan cheese
- Store in the fridge for up to a week
I have never cooked with sage so I did not really know what to expect. For us, it was SUPER lemony. Does sage taste like lemon? After trying a leaf I did not think so. I like lemon but this was off. Also,after adding required olive oil, it was soooo thick like peanut butter. So I added twice as much oil. Still really lemony. Didn’t love it but again this was my first time using sage on pasta
Love playing with pesto. A simple all-inclusive meal I make is a pesto-pasta dish which I never make the same each time I have done it. I use pasta (usually rotini because it holds the pesto better), some type of protein (smoked flank steak is my favorite but even roasted rotisserie chicken from the grocery store works) and then mix it all with a diced red bell pepper, sometimes some jicama for texture, feta cheese, diced tomatoes, scallions and if I have the time, caramelized onions. Then add enough pesto to make the mixture moist and coat all the pasta. Serve cold. Easy to make on a weekend and serve as a quick weeknight dinner.
That sounds delicious, Russ. I hope you tried this walnut sage pasta with that recipe. I think it would be perfect!
Hi Colleen! The recipe looks delicious. How firmly do you pack the sage and parsley in the cup? Or how many grams of both do you think you put in the recipe? I normally weight this type of ingredients for a more consistent taste. Thank you! I can’t wait to try it!
Hi Caroline, I pack the herbs fairly firmly, and if you are weighing, 150 grams of each should work. Good luck and enjoy!
Thank you so much for giving a weight, cups are a terrible way to measure most things, but herbs especially. Please do this as much as possible, we need to fix North American weights and measures.
Hi! I was also wondering if this would freeze well?
Hi Emma, yes, pesto freezes well. In the post, there's even a link to a great way to freeze it!
Hi Colleen, I also have a lot of sage in the garden. Good use of it in this recipe.
Thanks Dina! I still have so much sage. Looks like I'll be drying a lot of it.
Alexandra | Occasionally Eggs
What a beautiful colour! I really like the combination of walnuts and sage, I love them both, and walnuts are available locally so they're definitely less expensive. Do you think this would freeze well?
Mmmm sage, I've never tried a pesto with it before, but you've convinced me. Thanks for sharing, Colleen! Looks lovely, as always 🙂
Thanks so much, Nicole! It's quite a different, but delicious pesto.
I had to come back and tell you that I just made this, and it's everything I hoped it would be and more! I'm eating it right now with roasted vegetables, steamed chard and chicken. Delicious! 🙂
Nicole, thank you so much! ♥♥
Oh gosh, this sounds lovely! Pesto is such a versatile recipe, I love how many different flavours it can be made from.
Elizabeth, I know, right? Pesto is so amazing. I can always think of so many ways to use it, and so many ingredients, too. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Sam | Ahead of Thyme
Yum! This pesto looks and sounds amazing! Need to try this in my pasta.
Thanks Sam! This pesto is super flavour packed. I hope you love it as much as we did!
Denise from Urb'n'Spice
What a lovely pesto, Colleen. Toasted walnuts and sage are a perfect pairing. I can imagine this pesto in a Chicken Saltimbocca dish and a glass of Pinot Grigio. And I want to try it with apples for a fall appetizer as you suggest - that sounds intriguing! 🙂 I also have lots of sage in my abundant herb garden to use, so I will definitely be giving your recipe a try.
Denise, your chicken saltimbocco idea sounds perfect for this pesto!
I love walnuts and this pesto looks really good! I have no excuse not to try it, cause I have almost all the ingredients ! (except parsley).And I was wondering what else to do with my sage besides drying it, thanks for sharing!
Hey Vicky, I hope you try it, it's really good! 🙂
Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy
Now this sounds flavourful. I can just imagine this on some fresh pasta...even stuffed pasta. Perfect with a glass of wine for an easy weekend meal.
Hi Gloria, I agree, stuffed pasta, especially a butternut squash ravioli, (recipe in the works) is just perfect with this pesto.
How wonderful is addition of walnuts and sage together! I bet this tastes so good.
Hi Prasanna! Yes they are a delicious combination. Thanks for commenting!