Parsley Lemon Pesto Recipe

This parsley lemon pesto with walnuts is delicious tossed with pasta, used as a pizza sauce, or as a spread in sandwiches. It’s also great drizzled on roasted vegetables, rice, or used as a dip. This dairy-free pesto recipe is easy to make, flavorful, and rich yet refreshing.

What to serve with this parsley lemon pesto

Try drizzling some pesto on these delicious baked asparagus before serving. They’re quick and easy to make.

A glass bowl of parsley lemon pesto sauce.

Ingredients and substitutions

Pesto is traditionally made with fresh basil, but this recipe calls for parsley instead of the usual basil. Parsley gives this sauce a refreshing, spring-like flavor. It’s perfect when you’re craving something a bit out of the ordinary. If you prefer a more traditional pesto flavor, you can swap the parsley for fresh basil instead (or use a combination of both herbs). 

Walnuts add a slightly bitter, tannic flavor that goes perfectly with the fresh parsley, garlic, and lemon in this pesto sauce. If you don’t have any walnuts you can substitute pine nuts or pecans instead.

This parsley lemon pesto recipe calls for extra virgin olive oil which adds richness to the sauce as well as liquid necessary to ensure everything blends up nicely in the food processor or blender. You can substitute avocado oil or any other neutral oil you prefer. Or if you’re on an oil-free diet, you can substitute cold water and half an avocado instead of the olive oil in this recipe.

Fresh lemon juice adds brightness and zing to this refreshing pesto sauce. I don’t recommend substituting bottles lemon juice in this recipe.

How to make parsley lemon pesto

Start by adding the fresh parsley, garlic, walnuts, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a food processor or high blender.

Ingredients for pesto in a food processor.

Process/blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the food processor bowl or blender with a spatula as needed.

Pesto blended in a food processor.

Alternatively you could finely chop all the ingredients, then use a large mortar and pestle to make the sauce.

Tip

If you’re serving this parsley lemon pesto on pasta, be sure to toss it with the pesto sauce while the pasta is still hot. The heat will lightly cook the garlic and mellow the flavor of the raw garlic.

Optional addition

For an extra boost of lemony flavor, add a pinch of freshly grated lemon zest to the pesto, if desired.

Storage

Store this parsley lemon pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.

A glass bowl filled with pesto.

More gluten-free vegan recipes

A glass bowl of parsley lemon pesto sauce.
5 from 6 votes
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Parsley Lemon Pesto Recipe

This parsley lemon pesto with walnuts is easy to make and rich yet refreshing. It's delicious tossed with pasta, used as a pizza sauce, or spread in sandwiches.
Course sauce
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 174kcal

Equipment

  • Blender or food processor

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh parsley
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Optional addition: a pinch of freshly grated lemon zest.

Instructions

  • Add the fresh parsley, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, garlic clove, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a food processor or blender.
  • Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the food processor or blender as necessary.
  • Toss with pasta, use as a pizza sauce, drizzle on roasted vegetables, etc.

Notes

  • Store this parsley lemon pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.

Nutrition

Serving: 2Tablespoons | Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 154mg | Potassium: 120mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1266IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg

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