Walnut Pesto and Goat Cheese Dip

slideshow Fast Hors d'Oeuvres

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: Makes about 4 cups
KEY: Barbecue/Cookout, Cocktail Party, Graduation Party, Holiday Open House, New Year's Eve, American, Italian, Appetizers/starters, Dips & Spreads, Fast, Make Ahead, Vegetarian

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Ingredients

  • 14 ounces walnuts (2 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 10 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 small shallots, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped watercress leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Hass avocados, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • Small radishes and assorted vegetable sticks, such as celery, fennel and carrots, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 7 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a plate and let cool. In a food processor, working in 2 batches, pulse the walnuts until coarsely chopped. Add the second batch of nuts back to the food processor and pulse in the 1/2 cup of olive oil. Do not overprocess: the pesto should be slightly chunky. Season with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
  2. Transfer the pesto to a medium bowl. Mix in the goat cheese, shallots, watercress and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the avocados. Drizzle the dip with olive oil and serve with radishes and assorted crisp vegetables.

Make Ahead

The dip can be refrigerated overnight without the avocados. Bring to room temperature and fold in the diced avocados before serving.

Contributed By Photo © William Meppem Published December 2003

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