Parsley Pesto Recipe

Parsley pesto, also known as "poor man's pesto" because it's so cheap to make! Click through for recipe.

It’s often cheaper to make your own sauces and condiments at home. Case in point, this pesto recipe. It’s a poor man’s pesto, if you will.

Cheaper alternatives are substituted for some of the typical pesto components of basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil.

Making Cheaper Pesto At Home

There are many alternative ways to make pesto. I’ve seen recipes that call for all types of non-basil greens (parsley, arugula, and lettuce) and nuts other than pine nuts (including macademia nuts and walnuts). Feel free to experiment and make your own version of pesto using ingredients you already have on hand.

Both basil and pine nuts are quite expensive, so to save money, I make mine with parsley and walnuts. While there is a taste difference if you’re used to traditional pesto, it’s not a bad difference. This cheaper combination makes for a slightly lighter, fresher tasting pesto.

Pesto-Parmesan meatballs recipe

Get the recipe: Pesto-Parmesan meatballs

Serving Suggestions

You can use this pesto any way you typically use pesto:

  • On hot or cold pasta (with whole wheat pasta , in photo above)
  • As a pizza sauce
  • Mixed with mayo and spread on a sandwiches
  • On shrimp, chicken, or steak
  • On grilled vegetables
  • Stirred into butter
  • On crostini with goat cheese


Parsley Pesto
Yield: 1 1/2 cups pesto

Parsley Pesto

Leftover pesto keeps well in the freezer. I keep small, 1/2 cup servings sealed in plastic storage bags.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 2 cups fresh parsley leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of salt
  • Water, if needed


  1. In a food processor or blender, pulse parsley and walnuts a few times. Add garlic and pulse some more. Slowly stream in olive oil, continuing to blend ingredients. Scrape down sides to ensure even consistency. Add Parmesan cheese and continue pulsing. Add salt to your liking.
  2. If pesto is too thick, add additional olive oil, or for a lighter option, add water.

2 Responses to “Parsley Pesto Recipe”

  1. 1

    Cheap Recipe Blog » Compound Butter Recipes — April 19, 2012 @ 3:15 am

    […] and warm bread with pesto […]

  2. 2

    Cheap Recipe Blog » Crispy Smashed Potatoes Recipe — October 18, 2012 @ 6:09 am

    […] a potato that is soft in the middle and crispy on the outside. I brushed each potato with a little pesto before baking to add flavor. Potatoes ready for […]

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