Roasted beet, garlic and walnut pesto

A tasty twist that’s as delicious as it is colourful!

I love making big batches of traditional basil pesto each summer and often have enough tucked into the freezer to enjoy all winter long. Over the past few years, I’ve had fun experimenting with new pesto recipes, including with garlic scapes, roasted peppers and more. This latest creation, made with roasted beets and garlic is a real winner. Not only does it turn the past a vibrant shade of magenta (which might be fun for a Valentine’s Day menu), it imparts such a delicious, rich flavour to the noodles. I’ve also used this beet pesto as a dressing for roasted vegetables and for barley salad, as well as to stuff mushroom caps and all three variations were huge hits with my taste testers. Like most pestos, this one freezes beautifully.


  • 1 large beet, peeled and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) toasted walnut pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoons (2.5 mL) salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Put the beets and garlic in a 1 quart oven safe casserole dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the olive oil and toss to evenly coat the beets. Cover tightly and bake 35 – 40 minutes, until beets are tender.
  • Remove beets from oven and let cool 15 minutes or longer, still tightly covered.
  • Put beets, garlic and accumulated juices in a food processor or sturdy blender. Add toasted walnuts, pepper, salt, lemon juice and olive oil. Process until mixture is uniformly pureed.
  • To serve on pasta, add a few tablespoons of pesto at a time to hot, drained pasta. Toss with two forks until pasta is evenly coated, adding a bit more pesto if needed. Top with grated parmesan cheese (or your favourite vegan cheese alternative) and serve hot.

Makes approximately 1.5 cups (375 mL) of pesto.

This original recipe first appeared at

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

7 thoughts

  1. HaHaHa…Paula, you could easily have re-named this “Polish Pesto”, since it’s custom tailor-made to Polish tastes and traditional ingredients, right down to the walnut trees. Oh, well, mushrooms, but… (Lemon juice courtesy of Queen Bona.) Thank-you for the Buttermilk-Brined Chicken recipe & guidance. I’m on my way to fix it up right now. I’ll send my vegan niece your website. Thanks-a-lot !

    1. Thanks for your feedback – I love the “Polish Pesto” nickname! I am a huge fan of beets as well (must be the farmers in my family). Hope you like the buttermilk brined chicken as much as we do!

  2. On second thought, it would make a nice “side” at a Breast Cancer fundraiser brunch. Maybe lightly tossed with capellini/angel hair pasta- I’ve seen packaged capellini in a twirled-up nest style in a local Italian specialty store. Can’t recall the brand, but it was good quality pasta, popular with both adults and children in the family. Back to my chicken….

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