Each week I participate in a group event with The Food Network. It’s not a requirement that we participate each week and I’ve missed a couple whether it was bad timing or maybe something I wasn’t interested in making. The day they choose Green Pepper as a theme you can count me out! So this week when I checked my calendar for the current #summersoiree theme I was happy to see Pesto. I love basil. I love nuts. I love pesto.
All of my vegetable gardening is in pots. Maybe I thought that would be temporary until I got a handle on so many other things with a new (read grass and rock bleh) yard but I’m now in my 2nd summer going this route and I might just stay the course. I have twelve large pots scattered on my patio and in my yard and half of those are dedicated to herbs and tomatoes. Three are filled with tomatoes and flowers, two with a variety of herbs and to show my love of basil? Two are filled with basil plants…and right now they are going totally nuts! I think I might have to start an herb stand in the front yard on Saturday mornings I have SO much! No complaining. I love it on sandwiches, in salads and pastas and even in cocktails. I’m in pesto Heaven!
Still the challenge for me this week wasn’t just to make pesto but to make something with pesto. I’ve done pasta and appetizers but as anyone who reads this blog a bit might know; I’m all about checking to see what’s on hand and making something from my pantry. I went to peek and the first thing that caught my eye were some baby red potatoes. I had planned to make a fresh herb potato salad of a different variety but it only took a moment for me to switch gears and decide to make a Pesto Potato Salad.
When I first started making pesto several years ago, most recipes called for a combination of basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic and olive oil. As much as I love pine nuts I’ve had to leave them on the shelf. When their prices rose dramatically a couple of years ago I just bet they would never go back down and I was right…so while I keep a short supply in the freezer I have found that using toasted walnuts make a great variation and keep it from having an expense that might see me hoard the final product and never want to use it! Mind you I said toasted…absolutely why I have grown to love walnuts so much. I use to be a pecan girl through and through but once I started using walnuts and toasting them? I was hooked; raw vs toasted is like night vs day…and the flavor is so improved that I they have taken over the number one spot. Sorry pecans.
I toasted walnuts for the pesto but also made a bunch on the stove sauteed in butter and Parmesan cheese. OK, these could be devoured by the handful and were tough to throw into the mix but the combination together with the potatoes, pesto and red onions? Amazing. I’m pretty picky about potato salad and this one is really fantastic. Added bonus? No mayonnaise and no fear of spoiling if left out a bit; perfect for summer picnics and barbecues. As a matter of fact this HAS to be served at room temperature; cold olive oil is not conducive to great potato salad.
I worried it would not be the prettiest kid on the block but don’t let that fool you…there is plenty of heart. Try it, you’ll see!
Pesto Potato Salad with Parmesan Walnuts
For the Basil Pesto
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 cups fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
For the Parmesan Walnuts
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups walnut pieces (or rough chop walnut halves)
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
For the Potato Salad
- 1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- Basil Pesto
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
To Make the Pesto:
- Toast the walnuts in a dry pan over a medium heat until fragrant and golden brown, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes.
- In a food processor, process the walnuts and the garlic until minced.
- Add the basil, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice and process until finely minced. With processor on, slowly pour the oil down the food chute.
- Process until well blended. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
To Make the Parmesan Walnuts:
- Add all ingredients to a skillet and cook on medium heat until the butter and Parmesan have melted and the mixture is just starting to turn brown. Turn out of the skillet onto a piece of foil to cool. Separate if necessary.
To Make the Potato Salad:
- Cook the potatoes in boiling water for 20 minutes until fork tender.
- Quarter the potatoes and put them in a large bowl with the onions. Add the pesto and toss gently to combine; let sit for at least 30 minutes.
- Add the olive oil and stir gently; season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add 1 cup of the Parmesan walnuts and toss; garnish with the remainder of the nuts.
- Serve at room temperature.
What a great mix of dishes with pesto. Each week I only wish I had the time to make ALL of them. Please make sure you visit my friends and see what they’ve been up to with pesto!
The Lemon Bowl: Lemony Pistachio Basil Pesto
Dishin & Dishes: Kale Pesto and Mushroom Stuffed Porterhouse Chops
Creative Culinary: Pesto Potato Salad with Parmesan Walnuts
Weelicious: Kale Pesto
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Garden Salad With Basil-Pesto Vinaigrette
Red or Green: Corn On The Cob With Basil-Jalapeno Vinaigrette
Homemade Delish: Spinach and Kale Pesto
Domesticate Me: Ratatouille Quinoa Bake with Pesto and Buffalo Mozzarella
The Mom 100: Crusted Loin Lamb Chops with Mint Basil Pesto
Taste with the Eyes: Fresh, Fabulous, and Frugal – Carrot Top Pesto
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Chicken Breasts with Coconut and Cilantro Pesto
Healthy Eats: Green Is the New Black: 5 Must-Try Pestos
FN Dish: 6 Non-Pasta Ways to Go Big with Pesto