Watercress and Walnut Pesto

I wrote this recipe in 2014, for a book that our children’s pre-school wanted to publish with recipes that were successful at home. This is what I wrote then:

“Pesto and pasta is a favourite dish at home, our children have enjoyed it from six months onwards with very soft pasta. So much so, that they ended up with green faces and would need a bath afterwards. They don’t end up with green faces anymore, but they and us still enjoy it just as much.”

Another ten years have gone by, and it is still a staple at home, always with fresh watercress from the Alresford watercress beds and “grandad’s” olive oil.


1 large bunch of fresh watercress

80g mature cheddar

1 garlic clove (optional)

50g walnuts

a pinch of salt

125ml Negra extra virgin olive oil

Takes 10 mins – serves 6


Wash the watercress very well and remove any thick stalks (you can add these to a vegetable soup). Put the watercress, mature cheddar chopped in small pieces, the garlic clove, the walnuts, the Negra Harvest olive oil and a pinch of salt into a food processor. Whizz until smooth.

At home we love it with pasta, and I tend to add some sliced pan fried mushrooms, or a fresh tomato salad.

I always make a large batch and freeze it in portions, as it is very handy for pasta, rice, boiled potatoes, to finish a tomato soup or as a delicious dip.