This easy perilla pesto takes less than 10 minutes and is the perfect way to enjoy perilla leaves during this summer season! This homemade pesto is very similar to the traditional pesto— but this recipe uses walnuts instead of pine nuts.
My parents have several perilla plants in their garden, and every summer they give me bags full of fresh perilla leaves. I love the flavor of perilla leaves, but sometimes I run out of ways to use them.
If you are like me and have way too many perilla leaves, this is the recipe for you 🙂
What is Perilla (Kkaennip)?
Perilla (깻잎) is commonly used as a vegetable in Korean cuisine. It has a grassy, minty, fragrant flavor that pairs well with many Korean dishes. Fresh perilla leaves are usually eaten with Korean bbq when making lettuce wraps, or chopped and added to Bibimbap or cold noodle dishes.
Perilla leaves can also be used to make kimchi or even pickled as a side dish.
What you’ll need to make Perilla Pesto Pasta at home:
- fresh perilla leaves
- parmesan cheese
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- pasta of choice
How to make perilla pesto pasta:
Cook your pasta
Bring a pot of water to a boil on high heat. Add a pinch of salt to the pot of water, this will slightly season the pasta while cooking. Once the water is boiling, add your pasta of choice and cook according to the package directions.
Let’s make the pesto
While the pasta is cooking, let’s make the perilla pesto. In an electric mixer/blender, combine the perilla leaves, parmesan, olive oil, garlic, and walnuts. Blend together on medium-high speed for a few minutes or it becomes the consistency you like.
Once the pasta is done, drain and transfer the pasta to the pan. Save ¼ cup of pasta water to use later!
Add some of the pesto and some pasta water to the pasta and stir on low heat.
Transfer the pasta to a bowl and enjoy with extra chopped perilla and egg yolk (optional).
Other easy noodle recipes you may like:
- Spicy Chili Oil Noodles
- Easy Red Curry Noodle Soup
- Garlic Udon Noodles
- Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry with Udon Noodles
- 4 oz pasta of choice
- ¼ cup pasta water (for pasta sauce)
- 30-35 leaves fresh perilla, rinsed
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 cup olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic
- ½ cup walnuts
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Bring a medium-size pot of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add your pasta of choice and cook to al dente or according to the package directions. When the pasta is done, drain and set the cooked pasta aside.
- In an electric mixer/blender, combine the perilla leaves, parmesan, olive oil, garlic, and walnuts. Blend on the lowest speed to start and slowly increase to medium speed, scraping down the sides as needed.
- To the pesto, add salt and pepper to taste. The pesto should become a rough paste/ thick consistency when done.
- To a pan, add the drained pasta and a few scoops of the pesto, and ¼ cup of pasta water. Heat the pan on low heat and stir to evenly coat the pasta in the pesto sauce.
- Optional: Serve pasta with extra chopped perilla leaves and an egg yolk for added creaminess!