Poor Man’s Pesto Sauce

This year we grew vegetables and we didn’t kill them (mostly)! I finally figured out how to keep basil alive. You wanna know the secret?

Lots of water, and lots of sun, and a fair amount of neglect thrown in there too.

So, because I finally learned how to keep basil alive…we had lots of basil that needed to be consumed. And consequently we ate a lot of pesto this summer. We also grew a ridiculous amount of tomatoes–cherokee purples, hillbillies, indigo, roma, and some orange volunteer cherries. My faith in tomatoes has been restored thanks to the heirloom varieties we experimented with this year.

Walnut Pesto Sauce

Love pesto but don't want to break the bank on pine nuts? I've got you covered.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: pesto pasta, pesto sauce
Servings: 4 people
Author: Caitlin Guerra


  • food processor


Pesto Sauce

  • 6 Cup (2 big bunches) Fresh Italian Basil
  • 1/2 Cup Crispy Walnuts
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan
  • 1-3 cloves Garlic, smashed
  • 1 tsp Himalayan Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (more to taste)


  • 1 Lb Rotini or Fusilli Pasta GF version substitute pasta of choice
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Lb Pre-sliced Crimini Mushrooms
  • 1 Lb Cherry Tomatoes
  • salt to taste


  • Start a large saucepan with water to boil. Gather your food processor and put all of the ingredients for the pesto sauce in it. Blend until smooth, approximately 1-2 minutes. Set Pesto aside.
  • Once your water is boiling pour pasta and a dash of salt into water and cook until just tender. Depending on the brand of pasta this could be 6-8 minutes. Mushy pasta is the worst, try not to overcook.
  • While your pasta is cooking heat up a skillet and melt butter. Once butter is melted and bubbly add the mushrooms. Cook until moist looking and soft. Once the pasta is perfect, turn off heat, drain out water, and return pasta to saucepan. Add pesto sauce and stir until well coated. Stir in mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Enjoy!
  • For a toddler friendly version: keep the noodles, pesto sauce, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes separated. If there is a coup staged, or mutiny occurring, or if any portion of their food hits the floor, put it back on their plate and pretend like it never happened. Eventually mealtime will cease to be a battle of wits…we hope.

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