I love a classic basil pesto. Chock full of basil and pine nuts, there is a reason it is such a staple. I toss it with pasta, spoon it over chicken breasts, you name it. But, why does basil get all the love? It’s fun to mix it up and make a pesto with a different herb. I love using parsley because it’s so accessible year round! Pretty much any grocery store sells it by the bundle any day. Not to mention it’s more affordable! We add lemon zest and juice to give this Lemon Parsley Pesto a fresh zing.
What You’ll Need for this Easy Parsley Pesto:
- Fresh Parsley
- Toasted Pine Nuts
- Lemon – for the zest and juice
- Olive Oil
- Parmesan Cheese
- Salt and Pepper
And don’t forget pasta to serve it with! I love pesto with farfalle (bowtie) pasta because the pesto clings to the twists. But go ahead and use the pasta you have on hand! Tossed with pasta it’s amazing right away served warm, but don’t be afraid to make it in advance and stick it in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature a few minutes before serving. This is a great option to bring to potlucks, barbecues, or parties.
All you need to do is blend up the parsley ingredients in a food processor or blender. That’s it! Quick and easy. The pesto can be stored in the fridge until you’re ready to use. Or in this case, toss it with freshly cooked, hot pasta. Yum.
I love to toast up some extra pine nuts to sprinkle over the top. It adds a little extra crunch and gives a clue at what flavor is in the pesto. An extra sprinkle of parmesan cheese is also strongly encouraged 🙂
Easy Pesto to whip up – just lots of fresh parsley, lemon, pine nuts, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Serve with hot or cold pasta, spoon over chicken or fish, the options are endless. Recipe at KathleensCravings.com #pestorecipe #parsley #pastasalad #summerpasta
Lemon Parsley Pesto
- 2 1/2 cups packed parsley leaves (about 2 ounces. I got mine from two bunches)
- 1/3 cup pine nuts (toasted. See recipe note)
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 lb farfalle pasta (or short pasta of your choice)
- toasted pine nuts (optional. Extra to sprinkle on top)
- grated Parmesan cheese (optional. Extra to sprinkle on top)
- In a food processor or blender, add all Pesto ingredients except the olive oil. Pulse a few times to chop. Then, with the processor running, slowly stream in the olive oil and blend until the pesto is thick and combined. Transfer the pesto to a bowl or container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water just before draining. Drain the pasta.
- Toss the pasta with the pesto. You can add some of the pasta water if needed to thin out the pesto. Serve warm or at room temperature. If desired, sprinkle some extra toasted pine nuts and grated parmesan cheese on top.
Makes 1 cup of pesto
To toast pine nuts: Place pine nuts in a small to medium dry skillet over medium high heat. Toast for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Watch them closely as they go from toasted to burnt very quickly. When done, immediately remove from heat and remove from the hot skillet. The pine nuts can be toasted in advance and stored in an airtight container.
Storage: The pesto can be stored in the fridge for 3 days.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Main Dish
- Cuisine: Italian