Lemon-Pepper Parsley Pesto
Do you ever have leftover parsley? If you’re like me, it happens from time to time! I created this Lemon-Pepper Parsley Pesto as a solution. It’s a fun, easy way to use up extra parsley and it can be used in SO MANY different ways. And don’t worry, I’ve listed the ideas below!
I know what you may be thinking…pesto is made with basil, and that’s true, but basil is not the only herb you can use for pesto. Give this Lemon-Pepper Parsley Pesto a try and I think you’ll agree!
What to Do with Parsley?
While it may seem that parsley is just a flavorless herb that should be reserved only for garnishes, I would beg to differ. I love using it in salads and with lighter flavored meats, such as chicken and fish. It adds a pop of fresh flavor to almost anything and is pretty at the same time.
What’s the Best Way to Store Fresh Parsley?
Treat fresh parsley like you would fresh cut flowers. Give the bunch of parsley a rinse with cold water, keeping the bunch together. Then gently wrap the bunch in paper towels to dry the parsley. Unwrap the parsley and place the parsley bunch, stem sides down, into a drinking glass so the leaves are sticking out the top of the glass.
Add enough cold water to cover the parsley stems but avoid covering any leaves that may be in the glass.
Cover the parsley with the produce bag you brought it home in. Refrigerate the parsley and use it as needed. Refresh the water in the glass every couple of days.
How Can I Use Parsley Pesto
The best part of this Lemon-Pepper Parsley Pesto is that it can be used in SO MANY WAYS! Check out these ideas:
- Stir it into homemade soups for a pop of flavor (add it just before serving)
- Spread on top of cooked fish, chicken, pork or steak
- Toss it with cooked or cold shrimp or scallops
- Use it as a dipping sauce for lobster
- Use it as a spread on sandwiches or wraps
- Spoon it on top of an omelet or cooked eggs
- Spoon it on top of deviled eggs for a flavorful, colorful garnish
- Add it to your favorite vinaigrette for more flavor
- Stir it into plain hummus for added flavor
- Spoon on top of cooked vegetables for added flavor
- Add it to a baked potato instead of butter or sour cream
- Toss it with mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower
- Toss it with your favorite cooked gluten-free noodles
- Toss with your favorite zoodles, veggie noodles or spaghetti squash
Can I Use Other Herbs for This Pesto?
Yes! If you don’t have enough parsley to get 1 cup, you can add basil or cilantro (or both) to make up the rest. Or, if you don’t dig the taste of parsley, this pesto would taste great using all basil.
If you LOVE (and, I mean, LOVE!) cilantro, you can use all cilantro in this recipe. If I’m making it with cilantro, I prefer to use half cilantro and half parsley since cilantro has such a strong flavor.
Can I Freeze Parsley Pesto?
If you don’t use all the pesto within a day or two, simply spoon the extra into clean ice cube trays. Freeze until firm, and then pop the frozen pesto cubes out of the trays and store them in a freezer bag or airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Next time you find yourself with a partial bunch of parsley you don’t think you’ll use, turn it into this Lemon-Pepper Parsley Pesto. Your taste buds will be glad you did! By the way, if you have extra cilantro, check out my recipe for Cilantro Pesto. Or, for a classic favorite, make this Basil Pesto.
Lemon-Pepper Parsley Pesto
- 1 cup packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- In a small food processor combine parsley and walnuts. Cover and process until finely chopped. Add garlic, lemon peel, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and, if desired, cayenne pepper. Process until combined. Add oil; cover and process until well combined and nearly smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
- Use immediately or transfer pesto to a bowl and cover the surface of the pesto with plastic wrap. Chill up to 2 days.