Parsley Pesto

by Kelly on May 5, 2010


It happens to me all the time and I suspect it happens to you too, because surely I cannot be the only one.  I’m standing in the grocery store with my scribbled list, or these days it’s more likely to be a typed list on my iPhone, staring at an ingredient for a recipe questioning whether I really need it.  Usually it’s something obscure or highly perishable that I only need a tiny amount of.  I do a cost versus benefit analysis in my head.  Usually I cave and buy it, worrying that if I don’t the dish will be nothing more than a whisper of its full self and I’ll wonder if it had been better if I had just bought that one ingredient.

There is generally one exception though, one ingredient that I routinely skip without regret – parsley.  I’m sure there are some hardcore fans out there, because aren’t there hardcore fans of just about everything, so I am sorry to have offended you.  But most of the time this ingredient just isn’t worth it for me.  Sure a little sprinkled on top makes my photos pop or adds a nice vegetal flavor, but mostly I’m indifferent.  Generally I buy it and forget to use it, or use just a tad and find it shriveled and sad in my vegetable drawer a week later.  So when I bought it to make Fettucine Carbonara it was highly out of character.  However, the dish had so few ingredients that I knew it was worth it and that it would go a long way to balance the richness of the sauce.  So I found myself in posession of almost full bunch of parsley and a determination for once not to let it go to waste.

So I did the typical thing that most food bloggers seem to do when faced with an excess of herbs – I made pesto.  I don’t expect you to be wowed by this.  It’s not amazing or creative, but I thought it was worth mentioning because while basil, cilantro, and the like usually scream pesto to me, I often forget that parsley works as well.  The result is as delicious as it is industrious.  It’s clean and fresh and would be as lovely over fresh fish or chicken as it is atop pasta.  I mixed mine with some homemade peas and bacon for a lovely spring dish.

Parsley Pesto
Adaped from
Yields 1/2 cup
-2 cups fresh flat leaf parsley
-1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1 tablespoon good quality olive oil, or more to reach desired texture
-1 tablespoon Chile Crunch, optional, but can you tell I’m addicted?
-Salt and pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.

What about you – do you typically buy every ingredient a recipe calls for or are there things you regularly skip because you doubt if you would use them again or find them expensive?

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet May 5, 2010 at 12:23 pm

I have never had parsely pesto! I really like arugula pesto – heck, I like all pesto!


Rae May 5, 2010 at 12:38 pm

This is why I want to start an herb garden! So I don’t have to buy a whole bunch for a tiny amount… which I normally do because I have issues.

I recently had an excess of arugula and made that into a pesto with walnuts, which was great. I would expect parsley to make a very versatile pesto.


Shanti Day May 5, 2010 at 12:38 pm

I feel the same way about buying some ingredients. So I just grow my own parsley (and basil for that matter). We routinely make, and freeze, tons of basil pesto at the end of the growing season but I’ve been at a loss for what to do with the parsley. Thanks for the idea!


Jenna May 5, 2010 at 1:35 pm

I’ve only ever had basil pesto, gasp! I know, I know. I think I will expand my horizons this summer though because I truly love pesto!


Bethany May 5, 2010 at 6:00 pm

The only pesto I have ever made was a total flop — but if you like this recipe, maybe I’ll try it. I actually have parsley wilting in my fridge at this very moment… the result of buying a huge bunch because some recipe needed a tablespoon 🙂 I go back and forth — sometimes I buy it, sometimes not!


Carolyn Jung May 5, 2010 at 7:11 pm

This is great to make right now, too, because my basil seedlings are still just that — barely out of the ground. With parsley, I can enjoy pesto year-round. 😉


GUAVA May 5, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Hi long lost gourmet friend! It’s been tooooooo long! Dang, that pasta looks yummy! See my problem is I’m totally the opposite and my scale always tips to “substitute” which is why all my food tastes vaguely similar and is never as impressive as those out your pink aproned kitchen my lovely! 😉


5 Star Foodie May 6, 2010 at 12:14 am

Great idea to make pesto with your extra parsley, the pasta looks terrific!


Amanda May 6, 2010 at 12:55 am

The pesto sounds great! I always buy all of the ingredients needed for a dish. Unfortunately, I usually have half of it go bad in the refrigerator too. 🙁


Melissa May 6, 2010 at 8:37 am

I feel the same way about buying random recipe ingredients. I hate only using a tiny bit and having stuff go bad. I feel so guilty about wasting!

I LOVE pesto, but I’ve never tried to make my own. I’m adding a star to this post in my Google Reader cuz I will make some one day. 🙂


Sues May 6, 2010 at 10:31 am

Oooh it’s beautiful! I am the EXACT same way in the grocery store. However, I generally do buy parsley because I do love it (I used to eat it as a snack when I was a kid!) and it’s pretty cheap. But it’s true, I often end up with a huge shriveled mess of it a couple weeks later. They need to sell it in smaller bunches!


Kerstin May 6, 2010 at 4:05 pm

What a lovely pesto. I never buy parsley either really for the same reason, but here it sounds so delicious!


Jessica @ The Cooking Chick May 6, 2010 at 5:43 pm

I am with you, I often get so conflicted about buying certain ‘small dose’ ingredients , because I only use what I need and the rest to often goes to waste (for me, its usually the herbs, which you just HAVE to buy for the recipe). I have started freezing the leftover chopped herbs in little ice trays with some water so I can use them again later. While I wouldn’t use them to top a dish I have just made, they are great in sauces!


Esi May 6, 2010 at 11:44 pm

I love how green this is!


Chou May 7, 2010 at 7:59 am

Beautiful! I’ll have to try it, I’ve never had parsley pesto.


sophia May 9, 2010 at 12:34 am

I AM wowed. I love the color of that brilliant pesto. I’m not a huge parsley fan, either. I’ve never bought it in my life. But this is the best way to use it up in huge quantities, instead of just sprinkling a small bunch onto some salad!


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