Pea and Walnut Pesto

Pea and Walnut Pesto
Pea and Walnut Pesto served crostini-style on rustic wheat bread. © Miri Rotkovitz
  • 8 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins,
  • Cook: 3 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

This kid-friendly pesto is made with frozen peas, so it's ideal for those days when there's not much in the pantry or when fresh basil is scarce. Serve it over pasta, dollop it on cherry tomato halves, scoop it up with carrots and celery, or enjoy it as a spread atop slices of toasted baguette or focaccia.

Make it A Meal: Roast some veggies: think eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, and sliced portobello mushrooms (or whatever veggies you have on hand or prefer!). While they're roasting, bring a pot of water to a boil, and add your favorite pasta (farfalle works nicely with pesto). Drain the pasta, transfer it to a bowl, drizzle with some good-quality extra virgin olive oil, and toss it with the Pea and Walnut Pesto. Top with the roasted veggies, and voila! -- dinner is served! 

The roasted veggie + pesto combo also makes a great panini -- split some focaccia or crusty rolls, spread with pesto, and layer with roasted vegetables and fresh mozzarella. Warm in the oven or a panini press, or enjoy it cold.  

Tips: Don't care for walnuts? Try substituting pine nuts or pecans.

The Cheese Guy offers an OU-kosher certified, chalav Yisroel Pecorino Romano made in Sardinia, Italy. If you can't find it at your local kosher grocer, you can order it online from Grow and Behold. Though the purveyor is best known for it's antibiotic- and hormone-free kosher pastured meats, it also happens to carry some great (and hard-to-find) kosher cheese varieties, wild salmon, and The Gefilteria's artisanal gefilte fish loaves.

What You'll Need

  • 2 cups (10 ounces/285 gm) frozen peas (or fresh) 
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces or 40 gm) walnuts
  • 2 ounces/55 gm Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra for serving)
  • 3 large cloves garlic (peeled, trimmed, and smashed)
  • 1/3 cup/85 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste (freshly ground)

How to Make It

1. Place the peas in a small saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat and simmer just until tender, about 1 to 3 minutes. Place the peas in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Drain and set aside. 

2. Place the walnuts, cheese, and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor or blender, pulsing several times until coarsely chopped. Add the peas and pulse a few more times.

With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil and blend just until the ingredients form a paste. Stir to combine and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve over freshly cooked pasta, on crostini, or as a dip for vegetable crudites. Enjoy!