Oregano pesto is a great alternative to the traditional basil pesto that you know and love, and it’s a great way to use up a large crop of oregano from your herb garden at the end of the summer. It’s very quick and easy to make in a food processor, and it’s delicious on pasta, pizza, grilled chicken and so much more!
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How to make fresh oregano pesto
Making pesto is one of my favorite ways to use up fresh herbs at the end of the summer. Oregano pesto is a delicious alternative to a traditional basil pesto.
The flavor is a little stronger and more peppery than basil pesto, so a little goes a long way. However it freezes well, so you can make it in bulk and store it easily.
For a classic pesto, see my fresh basil pesto recipe.
Scroll down for the printable card for this fresh oregano pesto recipe, or read on for all the details.
Fresh oregano: Use freshly harvested oregano if you can. Give it a quick wash under cool water and pat it dry.
Walnuts: The recipe below uses lightly toasted chopped walnuts. However you can substitute any other kinds of nuts that you like. Hazelnuts, pine nuts or pecans all work really well with this recipe.
Parmesan cheese: Use freshly grated Parmesan, romano, or granada padano. To make a vegan oregano pesto, you can substitute nutritional yeast.
Garlic: Use fresh garlic cloves if possible, or crushed garlic from a jar. Garlic complements the flavor of oregano extremely well, balancing out its pepperiness.
Olive oil: Choose a good quality cold pressed olive oil. The quality of olive oil you use in this recipe will really affect the taste of the finished pesto, so use the best you can.
Salt: I use kosher salt in this recipe, but fine sea salt is also good.
Step 1: Wash oregano under cool water and pat it dry with paper towels.
Step 2: Lightly toast the walnuts in a small frying pan or skillet.
Step 3: Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. If you have a bunch of fresh oregano, you don’t have to pick the leaves off the stalks, just place the whole bunch in the food processor.
Pulse until the ingredients are combined and the desired consistency has been reached. If you like chunkier pesto then only pulse until the ingredients are just combined, for smoother pesto pulse it for longer.
Oregano pesto sauce is pairs well with other strong flavors, like garlic, tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil, hot pepper. Here are some ideas to try:
- Stir through cooked pasta
- Use as a dip for vegetables
- Drizzle over cooked pizza
Store your pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can gently pour a little olive oil on top of the pesto to keep it fresh and stop the top of the pesto oxidizing (turning brown).
If you want to keep the pesto for longer you can freeze it. A great option is to fill ice cube trays then you can pop out a few cubes as needed.
Oregano pesto recipe card
- 2 cups fresh oregano leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¾ cup olive oil
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup lightly toasted walnuts [Note 1]
- Carefully wash the oregano and pat dry.
- Place all ingredients in a food processor bowl.
- Pulse until they are well combined and the desired consistency.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks (or freeze in small batches for later use).
- Lightly toast the walnuts in a small frying pan or skillet.
You may also like:
- How to Harvest Oregano
- How to Grow Oregano from Cuttings
- How to Harvest Basil
- What to Do with Basil Flowers
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