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!
Homemade Pesto in your food processor is as quick and easy as it gets!
Skip the traditional tomato pasta sauce and spice up your life with these easy recipes for a change!
For everything you need to know about homemade pesto, check out my How to Make Pesto Guide!
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.
We add the walnut crumb for texture and you can skip the parmesan cheese if you are looking for an even healthier option!
We use simple, easy to find ingredients for this recipe. The photo below shows you what you need:
As you can see, we have:
- penne pasta (or your favourite pasta)
- basil pesto (store bought is fine!)
- parmesan cheese
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.
- Smash the walnuts into small pieces (Photo 1)
- Cook and drain the pasta (Photo 2)
- Add pesto to penne (Photo 3)
- 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 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
- this is a vegetarian recipe
- the nut crumb will take 2 mins to make
- use store bought or homemade pesto
- you can use your favourite pasta
- the recipe makes 4 servings
Your quick questions answered:
- This is a quick and easy recipe
- I use basil pesto (you can use rocket, basil, sun-dried tomato)
- This is a FREEZER FRIENDLY recipe
- This is an EASY recipe
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!
Pesto makes a great alternative to creamy or tomato based pastas!
Add some bacon if you want protein in the dish (more so than only the cheese)!
Easy Pasta recipes
For no fuss dinner ideas, try the following recipes:
- Instant Pot Penne Pasta
- Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot Primavera Pasta
- Ground Beef Casserole
- Tuna Pasta Bake
- Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese
- Rocket Pesto Pasta
- Creamy Mushroom Tagliatelle
For something different, make an olive tapenade and stir that through cooked pasta for a quick and easy dinner idea!
- Saucepan (or Instant pot)
- Skillet or fry pan
- 500 grams penne pasta Note 1
- 1 cup pesto Note 2
- 2 tablespoon walnuts
- parmesan cheese to garnish, Note 3
- cracked black pepper to garnish and taste
- 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!