pea and walnut pesto

 pea pesto, basi and walnuts
 pea pesto basil and walnuts

I cook with peas often. My children like them and while not technically paleo, I do eat them as well. Legumes tend to be bothersome for certain people, they don't bother me much as long as they're not an every day food. For a quick side, I will toss them in a pan with olive oil, fresh dill, garlic, salt and pepper.

Perched on a chair in the tiny kitchen of her 7th floor Bucharest apartment, my grandmother Lina showed me how to carefully remove peas out of their pods. It was a tiny kitchen, barely big enough to fit a table and still have walking room between it and the counter. But there we were, my apron wearing grandmother and me having an average day peeling peas and making stew. 

My grandmother was a beautiful woman. High cheekbones, dark hair and intense brown eyes, which she most often hid behind big sunglasses. She was stylish and put together even when at home. A woman of few words, she held a certain mystery that as a young girl, I wouldn't know to appreciate. 

When spending days with her, most of the time I would be roaming around snooping through her cosmetics, smothering my face in various creams and getting myself into the usual kid trouble. But on this day she felt it was better if I just assisted her in the kitchen and stayed put. So there I was, dropping one pea after another into a large yellow bowl, contemplating making my escape so I could go back to playing.  But she insisted I help her make stew. She taught me how to properly hold a knife, how to chop fresh herbs and carrots. A seemingly insignificant day is one that's stayed with me. 

Though I have many pea recipes under my belt, several years ago I made pea pesto for the first time. It was delicious and surprising as I never thought of making pesto out of peas. But it was also loaded with parmesan cheese so I wanted to find an alternative. My version uses walnuts instead, providing the creaminess you'd expect from pesto but with none of the dairy. It's versatile and quick to make and can easily transform any dish. 

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  • prep time: 5 minutes
  • cooking time: 5 minutes
  • yields: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 bag frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil
  • 3 tbsp raw walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Equipment

  • mood processor
  • medium pot

Directions

Combine peas with 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Strain the peas and add to food processor along with other ingredients and puree until all ingredients are combined. 

Serve right away or store in refrigerator in air tight container for up to a week. 

print recipe
pea and walnut pesto
Ingredients
  • 1 bag frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil
  • 3 tbsp raw walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions
1. Combine peas with 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Strain the peas and add to food processor along with other ingredients and puree until all ingredients are combined. 2. Serve right away or store in refrigerator in air tight container for up to a week.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4-6