Pesto with Walnut and Orange

Pesto with Walnut and Orange | The Tish Kitchen

Pesto with Walnut and Orange | The Tish Kitchen

Earlier this week, I gathered the goods in my kitchen and made the most of them. I had an abundance of basil, mint, and garlic and it was getting close to dinnertime. It was time to make pesto. 

I generally have grated cheese, olive oil and nuts in my home. It takes less than five minutes to make pesto and it stores well in the fridge for the week. And, it’s also versatile! I don’t eat pasta, rice or bread these days but others in my home indulge. You can top chicken or fish with before roasting, and dollop it in any veggie sauté. Pesto works for all of us.

Pesto with Walnut and Orange


  • 1 cup of nuts. The tradition is pine nuts, but I use any nut I have and today I used walnuts.
  • 1 cup of basil leaves
  • 1 cup of mint leaves
  • 3 large (or five small) garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of grated cheese. A dry cheese is best so use parmesan, or try Romano. Either grated cheeses work well. 


  1. Place one cup of nuts, in a single layer, into a dry frying pan over low heat. Shake the pan occasionally, making sure the nuts do not scorch. Stay with the pan for the minute it takes to toast the nuts. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool slightly. 
  2. In the bowl of your food processor, place the basil and mint leaves, and the garlic cloves.
  3. Pulse until the leaves are shredded and the garlic looks like small flecks in the green. 
  4. Add one cup of grated cheese.
  5. Add the toasted nuts and pulse until the mixture is combined and the nuts are ground into the mixture. You should not see chunks of nuts.
  6. Now, as the food processor is “on” (not in pulse mode) pour ½ cup of olive oil through the feed tube. The pesto will look very smooth now.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste but, please really check to see how the pesto tastes, before adding salt as cheese can be saltier than you’d imagine.


I like a bit of citrus in my pesto and had two juicy oranges in my kitchen. I juiced them both and added approximately one cup of their liquid into the processor, pulsing to combine. 

My personal preference is to have my pesto quite thick. I reconstitute it with each use, and prefer a 1/3 cup of veggie or chicken stock to loosen up the sauce before adding it to pasta or veggies. You can also mix in some more olive oil to get it to the consistency you like. 

Serving Suggestion

Serve this over hot pasta and eat it immediately mixing in cooked peas and broccoli, or chilled as a cool pasta salad. You can add grilled chicken or shrimp to make this a complete meal. I sautéed zucchini and red peppers and added a few tablespoons of pesto to melt over the vegetables. Served hot or at room temperature, the flavor is delicious.