Home RecipesPasta Pesto Penne with Walnut Crumb

Pesto Penne with Walnut Crumb

by Adrianne

Pesto Penne with walnut crumb is a delicious vegetarian pasta dinner recipe. With either homemade pesto or store bought this pesto pasta recipe is perfect for no fuss weeknight cooking! 

Pesto Penne on a white plate with walnut crumb on top

Once you make either the Rocket and Cashew Pesto or the Basil and Cashew Pesto you are going to want to use them for everything. 

Homemade Pesto in your food processor is as quick and easy as it gets! 

Try the Bacon Pesto Pasta or the Rocket Pesto Pasta and you will see how easy pesto and pasta is! Or for a creamy pasta, the Mushroom Tagliatelle!

Skip the traditional tomato pasta sauce and spice up your life with these easy recipes for a change! 


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Can you add Pesto to cold pasta?

The beauty of pesto is in its versatility. 

You can add pesto to cold pasta for a pasta salad. You can add pesto to pasta for an easy lunch.

The herbs in the pesto bring great flavour and the texture works so well with the pasta as you don’t need a lot of ingredients to create the wow factor! 

How do you use pesto sauce in a jar?

If you go to the pasta aisle of the store, you will find pesto in a jar. 

It is sold at room temperature and is usually either basil pesto or sun-dried tomato pesto. 

It is convenient as you literally take the lid off and stir it into pasta or other recipes and the job is done. 

My favourite store bought pesto, however is the basil pesto dip that is sold in the refrigerated goods section. 

I find the texture of the cold pesto dip much chunkier and enjoyable as you can almost make out the ingredients that went into the making of it. 

Is pesto pasta healthy?

Pesto pasta can be considered a healthy option as it is a high carb, low protein dish. 

Unlike our Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese or Instant Pot Spaghetti Bolognese which are both beef mince recipes, pesto penne pasta is a simple combination of pesto and pasta. 

We add the walnut crumb for texture and you can skip the parmesan cheese if you are looking for an even healthier option! 

Pesto Penne ingredients

We use simple, easy to find ingredients for this recipe. The photo below shows you what you need:

Pesto Penne ingredients on marble background with text over lay

As you can see, we have:

  • penne pasta (or your favourite pasta)
  • basil pesto (store bought is fine!) 
  • walnuts
  • parmesan cheese
  • pepper

Most pestos have parmesan cheese already IN them, so you can skip this if you are trying to cut down on cheese, but it does add great texture on top of the pasta if you keep it in!  

How to make Walnut Crumb Pesto Penne

The photos below are step by step showing you how to make this pesto penne recipe. 

Pesto Penne method with text over lay

  1. Smash the walnuts into small pieces (Photo 1)
  2. Cook and drain the pasta (Photo 2)
  3. Add pesto to penne (Photo 3)
  4. Stir to combine (Photo 4)

You can choose to toast the walnuts for 3-4 mins on the stove for extra depth of flavour if you like! 

Pesto penne on a plate with white skillet full of more pasta above

Pesto Penne and walnut recipe quick info:

About the recipe:

  • we only need 5 ingredients for this recipe! 
  • you can substitute your favourite nut for the walnuts
  • you can toast the walnuts or leave them as it (faster)
  • I use raw unroasted, unsalted walnuts

FAQs about Pasta with Pesto and walnuts

  1. this is a vegetarian recipe
  2. the nut crumb will take 2 mins to make
  3. use store bought or homemade pesto
  4. you can use your favourite pasta 
  5. the recipe makes 4 servings

Your quick questions answered:

  1. This is a quick and easy recipe
  2. I use basil pesto (you can use rocket, basil, sun-dried tomato)
  3. This is a FREEZER FRIENDLY recipe
  4. This is an EASY recipe

Pesto Penne on a white place with fork out to the left

Expert tips:

These tips are to help you master this recipe from the 1st time you make it:

  • if your pesto is dry, add a little of the pasta water and stir through
  • stir the pesto through when the pasta is hot and just cooked
  • once you have stirred the pesto through the pasta keep cooking till it is all heated through
  • freeze this recipe for easy week night meals! 

Penne Pasta with text over lay

Pesto makes a great alternative to creamy or tomato based pastas! 

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Add some bacon if you want protein in the dish (more so than only the cheese)! 

Pesto Penne on a white plate with a fork in the top left

Easy Pasta recipes 

For no fuss dinner ideas, try the following recipes:

  1. Instant Pot Penne Pasta
  2. Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese
  3. Ground Beef Casserole
  4. Tuna Pasta Bake
  5. Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese
  6. Rocket Pesto Pasta
  7. Creamy Mushroom Tagliatelle

For something different, make an olive tapenade and stir that through cooked pasta for a quick and easy dinner idea!  

PIN and save this recipe for later!

Pesto Penne on a white plate with a fork in the top left

Pesto Penne

Pesto Penne with walnut crumb is a delicious vegetarian pasta dinner recipe. With either homemade pesto or store bought this pesto pasta recipe is perfect for no fuss weeknight cooking! 
5 from 8 votes
Print Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Australian, International
Keyword: pesto pasta, pesto penne
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 736kcal
Author: Adrianne


  • Saucepan (or Instant pot)
  • Skillet or fry pan


Pesto Pasta

  • 500 grams penne pasta Note 1
  • 1 cup pesto Note 2
  • 2 tbsp walnuts
  • parmesan cheese to garnish, Note 3
  • cracked black pepper to garnish and taste


Penne Pasta

  • Cook pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and discard liquid.
  • Place walnuts into a zip lock bag and use a spoon to smash them into small pieces (crumbs)
  • Add the cooked pasta to a sauce pan at a medium heat.
  • Spoon pesto into cooked pasta and stir to combine. Cook till pesto is heated through.
  • Add walnut crumb and stir to combine
  • Serve with parmesan cheese and cracked pepper



  • Note 1 Penne is the tubular pasta that you see in the photos here. It is about 2 inches long and a common pasta variety. You can however, use your favourite pasta. this recipe will work with just about any pasta! 
  • Note 2 I used basil pesto for this recipe (also on the blog). You can try this, the Rocket and Cashew Pesto or store bought If using store bought pesto, I recommend the dip variety (with great chunky texture). 
  • Note 3 Go for the parmesan cheese that is extra sharp and bold. It really makes a difference and is very tasty! 


Calories: 736kcal | Carbohydrates: 99g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 587mg | Potassium: 301mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1250IU | Calcium: 131mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe? Share on Instagram!It makes my day when you make my recipes! Tag @sweetcaramelsunday

Pesto Pasta recipe

This is simple, quick cooking when that is what you need at the end of the day! 

Don’t loose sleep over it if you choose to use store bought pesto. There are some great ones out there! 

I’ve got your pesto, your pasta and your pesto penne needs COVERED. 

You have got dinner SORTED with this one. 

Let me know if you have any questions, I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below. 

Adrianne xx


Rocket Pesto Pasta Smoked Salmon Spaghetti Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bologense

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Marina June 2, 2020 - 11:37 am

5 stars
What a fantastic recipe, love pesto and walnuts add a lovely crunch to it! Thanks for sharing

Adrianne June 2, 2020 - 11:45 am

No worries Marina, glad you like it! Cheers

Nart at Cooking with Nart June 2, 2020 - 1:11 pm

5 stars
Looks delicious, My kind of comfort food!

Adrianne June 3, 2020 - 6:53 am

Thanks Nart!!

Lauren Vavala | Delicious Little Bites June 2, 2020 - 1:38 pm

5 stars
I love the combination of nuts with pasta. I have some leftover pesto in the fridge, and now I know exactly what I’m going to do with it!

Adrianne June 3, 2020 - 6:54 am

Sounds awesome Lauren! Pesto in the fridge means life is complete!!

Jenn June 2, 2020 - 1:48 pm

5 stars
I love everything about this recipe, including the flavor! It’s going to be a regular at my dinner table!

Adrianne June 3, 2020 - 6:59 am

That is great feedback, thanks Jenn! Got to love an easy dinner idea.

Jessica Formicola June 2, 2020 - 3:16 pm

5 stars
I love pesto anything, and this recipe looks amazing! I love the idea of adding walnuts!

Adrianne June 3, 2020 - 7:10 am

Thanks Jess!! That is great to hear. Appreciate your feedback.


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