Basil Mint Pesto with Walnuts

Zucchini Ribbons with Basil Mint Pesto

I had some bunches of fresh basil and mint in the fridge that needed to be used up, so I combined them with olive oil and walnuts for a bit of a different take on my usual pesto.  The resulting sauce was beautiful and when I tossed it with some sauteed zucchini ribbons, I ended up with a quick, bright, and refreshing lunch.

To make the zucchini ribbons, you will need a mandoline or a wide vegetable peeler.  Instead of getting out my big mandoline, I used my little Kyocera ceramic slicer.  It worked perfectly to create nearly paper-thin slices of zucchini and I even managed to keep from slicing my fingers.  I sauteed the zucchini briefly in some olive oil – it only takes a minute or two to cook when it’s that thin, then dropped a big spoonful of pesto into the pan and tossed it all together.  I sprinkled a handful of chopped walnuts over the top and lunch was served.

My whole lunch took less than 20 minutes to prepare and it looked pretty enough to be a restaurant plate.  On days like this, I really love cooking for myself.  What do you have in your fridge that needs to be used up soon?  It’s almost time for lunch!

Basil Mint Pesto

Basil Mint Pesto with Walnuts
makes about 1 cup

1 cup lightly packed basil leaves
2 cups lightly packed mint leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano

Put the basil, mint, garlic, walnuts, salt, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse to chop ingredients, scraping down the bowl as necessary.  With food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil in a slow but steady stream. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and add the parmesan cheese then pulse again to combine.

Recipe notes: If you’d like to freeze the pesto, leave out the cheese. When you’re ready to use it, defrost the sauce then stir in the cheese.

  1. Olga @ MangoTomato

    LOVE how that pesto looks! Glad I’m not the only one how uses things other than basil to make pesto.

    10:18 am  May 19th, 2011
  2. theSaucyLady

    Just lovely! I made a dish very similar to this last summer after being inspired by a French Provencal dish I had had at a restaurant- it’s so bright and fresh!

    10:47 am  May 19th, 2011
  3. Julia @Lemons and Loafers

    looks phenomenal. im dairy free so i would probably substitute cashews or nutritional yeast for the parm. can’t wait to try!

    10:55 am  May 19th, 2011
  4. Karina

    Looks luscious. I’m a big fan of using mint in pesto. I prefer using nuts beyond the usual pine nuts, too. Walnuts and pecans make a rich and lovely pesto. Beautiful, Nicole!

    11:12 am  May 19th, 2011
  5. SallyBR

    my kind of recipe for Spring and Summer days – haven’t made pesto with mint, sounds delicious and refreshing

    plus, I cannot get enough recipes for zucchini, my favorite veggie! 😉

    1:41 pm  May 19th, 2011
  6. Liren

    So refreshing! That is the ideal lunch, when paired with the zucchini!

    3:50 pm  May 19th, 2011
  7. Easy Salad Recipe

    I have these same things to use up. Wonderfull idea. Thanks.

    7:05 pm  May 19th, 2011
  8. Neil Butterfield

    Looks and sounds stunning.

    10:42 pm  May 19th, 2011
  9. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    This looks so delcious, and I love that you added mint and toasted walnuts to make this lovely pesto! Served over the zucchini ribbons I bet it tasted absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing!

    8:00 am  May 20th, 2011
  10. LiztheChef

    You inspire me to be more creative with my pesto-making.

    10:56 am  May 20th, 2011
  11. Claudine

    Saw the recipe in the morning and cooked it as first course for the evening meal. Fabulous! Tasted even better than I had imagined. Thank you.

    10:38 pm  May 20th, 2011
  12. Sweet Scarlet Designs

    This looks so good! *drooling here*. Elise

    7:25 pm  May 31st, 2011
  13. Kate

    Great recipe, made it yesterday without the garlic as we don’t care for the flavour, but substituted shallot instead.
    Worked out well and we shall be enjoying it again and again.
    A cup of Jamine with flowers tea from The Tea and Coffee Emporium was a fitting finishing touch to the meal.
    Thanks for the post and the opportunity to comment.

    1:03 am  Jun 6th, 2011
  14. Alta

    I received a HUGE bunch of zucchini and summer squash from my CSA today. Was just wondering what I wanted to do with it. I’ve made zucchini ribbons before – and you’ve come up with a lovely, easy way to enjoy them. There is a mountain of basil in my garden right now too – this will be just the thing.

    5:47 pm  Jun 18th, 2011
  15. ted kathan

    humm, looks delicious, good recipe too!!

    11:48 pm  Aug 7th, 2011
  16. Christine

    Fabulous recipe! Just made it for lunch with my hubby. Did not have enough herbs but made due with 1.5 cups altogether (loosely packed) and added more liquid (water) and almond flakes as well as walnuts. Very elegant (ribbons usually are!) and will definitely do this one again!

    5:39 am  May 20th, 2014
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