Maple Walnut Pesto recipe by Joyful Balance

Maple Walnut Pesto

Hello, lovelies! Pesto seems to be growing in popularity these days, and I have multiple versions of it that make it into my regular rotation in the kitchen. This Maple Walnut Pesto is one of my favorites because it is quick and simple, but has such a unique flavor to it! The walnuts compliment the maple beautifully to make a nutty but slightly sweet flavor, and the lemon juice adds just a bit of zing. 

This recipe actually came to be once when I was in a pesto mood but didn’t have pine nuts (which I usually use in pesto). I used walnuts instead, played around with the other ingredients a bit, and Maple Walnut Pesto was born!

Pesto is such a great little recipe to have in your back pocket – just throw everything in a blender and use it as a yummy sauce on whatever you like! Obviously the “classic” choice is pasta, but I’ve also used this on top of gnocchi, roasted veggies, and on buddha bowls! Get as creative as you want.


As usual, I tried to keep the ingredients for this recipe pretty straight forward with nothing super crazy!

  • Basil – the base of our pesto!
  • Lemon juice and water – These are our liquids to get a good consistency, but feel free to alter the amounts if you want it thicker or thinner! It may seem counterintuitive to use lemon juice in a recipe based on maple – but think of the lemon juice and maple syrup as yin and yang! The acidity from the lemon juice pairs wonderfully with the sweetness of the maple and they play off of each other very nicely.
  • Walnuts and maple syrup – the stars of the show! The nutty earthiness from the walnuts and the sweetness from the maple syrup are nice and cozy in this recipe. Highlighting these ingredients is what makes this pesto a little different from a typical pesto recipe and makes it special!
  • Garlic, salt, and nutritional yeast – for a little extra oomf in the flavor department.

How to make Maple Walnut Pesto

Simplicity, as usual:

  1. Add all ingredients to blender or food processor
  2. BLEND!

Tips & Tricks

  • You can make this in a blender or a food processor – a food processor will give you a slightly “chunkier” pesto texture while a blender will make it smoother. Up to you!
  • It is easiest to blend this up in a smaller blender / food processor cup if that is an option for you. I have a vitamix and I usually use the smaller containers to blend this (rather than the large one that I use for most other things). If you only only have a large blender or food processor, you may have to scrape the sides more often and be a little more patient – but eventually you should get there!
  • When loading up your blender, try putting the basil in first so that the other ingredients “weigh it down” and push it into the blades. This helps to make sure that all of the basil leaves are blended up the way we want them!
  • You’ll notice that the water and lemon juice are both listed with a range rather than a set amount (ex: “1-2 Tbsp”). I suggest starting with the smaller end of the range and then adding more as you go if you decide you want it! Basically you can adjust this based on what consistency you are looking for and on how strong of a lemon flavor you prefer. 
  • Get creative with how you use this! I think it would be a delicious topping for the Roasted Fall Bowl in my Buddha Bowl eBook! In my house we also love it on gnocchi and pasta, or as a pizza sauce.


Maple Walnut Pesto

Recipe by Delaney MarieCourse: CondimentCuisine: Italian


Total time



Similar to the traditional pesto we all know and love, but with a fun twist! The walnuts compliment the maple beautifully to make a nutty but slightly sweet flavor, and the lemon juice adds just a bit of zing. Perfect as a pasta sauce, pizza sauce, or on a veggie sandwich!


  • 2 cups basil

  • 1.5-2.5 Tbsp lemon juice

  • 1-2 Tbsp water

  • 1/2 cup walnuts

  • 1.5 Tbsp maple syrup

  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 4 cloves garlic


  • Starting with basil so that the basil is closest to the blades, throw all ingredients into a blender or food processor*. (For the lemon juice and water: it’s recommended to begin with 1.5 Tbsp of lemon juice and 1 Tbsp water for this step, and you can add more in the next step if you want to).
  • Blend until desired consistency is reached! Give it a quick taste test and blend in more lemon juice if you want a stronger lemon flavor, or more water if you want to keep the current flavor but get a thinner consistency.
  • Use to top anything you like – pasta, roasted veggies, or anything else!


  • * Note that a food processor will give your pesto a chunkier consistency while a blender will make it smoother – either one works!

Happy cooking, friends! If you made this recipe don’t forget to tag me (@joyfulbalanceofficial) on facebook or instagram so I can cheer you on for your pesto-making ways.

Stay well!

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Creamy Vegan Avocado Pesto - Joyful Balance

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