Lemon-Pepper Parsley Pesto
Do you ever have leftover herbs? I’m guessing, like me, it happens to you too. With herbs I buy in smaller amounts, such as oregano or rosemary, I don’t usually have trouble using them up before they turn dark, however, I’ve had to come up with a solution for parsley and cilantro because, at least in my markets, those herbs are sold in larger amounts and I don’t always need a lot for the recipe I bought them for. If you want to know what to do with extra parsley, make this Lemon-Pepper Parsley Pesto like I do.
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. This super versatile sauce can be made with almost any herb and is especially good when made with parsley, which is what I had extra of most recently.
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 with salads and lighter flavored meats, such as chicken and fish. It adds a pop of fresh flavor and is pretty too.
As for parsley pesto, I decided the addition of lemon and pepper would take it to the next level. Think of this as a super sophisticated version of lemon-pepper seasoning. Plus, it’s every bit as versatile as traditional basil pesto. I served it over grilled chicken and a grilled mixed potato packet one night…
and then the next night I made my 3 Ingredient Roasted Fish with Pesto (see recipe here), swapping the Lemon-Pepper Parsley Pesto for the Classic Basil Pesto, and it tasted heavenly. Really, you have to try it, after all lemon and fish go together like peanut butter and jelly and the parsley just adds to the whole glorious flavor combo.
If you don’t use all the pesto within a day or two, simply spoon the extra into ice cube trays, freeze until firm, and then pop the frozen pesto cubes into a freezer bag or container and freeze up to 3 months. I give directions on that in my Classic Basil Pesto (see recipe here) and this method works with any pesto you make.
So, next time you find yourself with a partial bunch of parsley you don’t think you’ll use, don’t toss it. Turn it into Lemon-Pepper Parsley Pesto instead. Your taste buds will be glad you did! By the way, if you have extra cilantro, check out my recipe for Cilantro Pesto.
The best way to store parsley after you buy it is to put it in a glass half-filled with water, like you would flowers in a vase. Then cover the parsley loosely with the plastic produce bag you put it in when you bought it. Store it in the refrigerator.
You don’t have to remove every stem from the parsley to make this pesto. Just the larger bottom stems that aren’t surrounded by a lot of leaves. This is how my parsley looked after I’d trimmed it – you can see there are still some small stems that will go into the pesto.
Put the parsley and nuts in the food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped.
Add the other ingredients except the oil. Process again until well combined.
Add the oil and process until well combined and nearly smooth.
- 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.
- 1/2 cup (8, 1-tablespoon servings)
- 61 cals, 1 g pro, 1 g carb, 6 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g sat fat, 0 g fiber, 78 mg sodium