Tomato-Walnut Pesto

I have a love-hate relationship with many foods.

1. LOVE onion rings –> HATE onions
2. LOVE coleslaw –> HATE cabbage
3. LOVE kidney beans and tomato sauce –> HATE chili.

I could go on and on.  Of all of the things that I love and hate, nuts have to be the most perplexing.  I love peanuts and any form of them (i.e. honey-roasted).  I also love almonds, especially in salads and in chocolate (duh).  I love pistachios…especially the red kind.  They remind me of my grandpap because I would always eat them with him when I was little and I thought it was so neat that they would turn my fingers red.

However…as much as I may love the above-mentioned nuts, I hate pecans and I hate walnuts.  My hate for pecans is not as deep as it is for walnuts.  I can handle pecans if they are chopped.  I hate walnuts in any form.  I remember trying them as a child while my grandma was using them in her recipes (I swear she did and still does use them in everything).  They felt like wax in my mouth and had the most awful taste that I will never forget.  Never. Ever. Forget.  It gives me the chills just thinking about it!

So…why in the world would I make a sauce with the word ‘walnut’ in it?  This sauce is lucky.  It also had the word ‘pesto’ in it.  I was willing to give it a try.  Ever since starting this blog, I feel like I have become so brave.  I mean, I began working with raw chicken and now I’m making something with walnuts in it!?  Craziness.  Pure craziness.

Oh, and I may also be okay with this recipe because it doesn’t call for a mass quantity of walnuts and they are processed into mush.

First, we start with the good stuff.  Basil, cheese, and garlic.
{Disclaimer: I am not a huge fan of garlic.  I like the flavor it adds to food but that’s only if I can’t taste it.  I know…I don’t make sense.}

The aroma that wafted out of my processor when I took off the lid after processing this was  Period.

Our pesto ends up looking like this…

…and it looks scary.  I know that.  I blame the walnuts.

Tomato-Walnut Pesto

adapted from “Taste of Home”


1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not soaked in oil)

1/2 cup boiling water

12 ounces cooked pasta (I used  whole-wheat linguine)

2 cups loosly packed basil leaves

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 garlic clove, peeled

1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil


Place tomatoes in small bowl; add boiling water.  Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.

Place the basil, Parmesan cheese, and garlic in a food processor; cover and pulse until chopped.  Add the tomatoes with liquid, broth, walnuts, salt, and pepper; cover and process until blended.  While processing, gradually add oil in steady stream.

Drain pasta; toss with pesto.  Serve immediately.

Yield: 8 servings

The police officer even had two helpings of this when he got home.  Two!  Very often, he comes home and asks what I made for dinner and when I tell him, he gets a nervous look on his face and utters a hesitant, “I’ll try it.”  He is a good sport and, thankfully, ends up liking a lot of my dishes!  This pesto was no exception.

P.S.  This does not, in any way, change the way I feel about walnuts.  Sorry little walnuts.

Do you have any weird love-hate relationships with food?

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