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Hazelnut Basil Pesto

Hazelnut Basil Pesto

Try a new twist on basil pesto by making it with hazelnuts instead of pine nuts. The hazelnut’s crunchy sweetness perfectly complements the salty bite of fresh Parmesan and the earthy brightness of fresh basil.  Use on pasta, bruschetta, even roasted vegetables.


  • 2/3 cups hazelnuts
  • 3 cups packed basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • Salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place hazelnuts in a pan and toast in oven until lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and place nuts on a clean paper towel.
  4. Fold towel over hazelnuts so they are completely enclosed; rub the towel back and forth to remove skin from hazelnuts.
  5. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts.
  6. In a food processor, add hazelnuts, basil, garlic and pepper; mix until finely chopped.
  7. Scrape down sides with a spatula.
  8. While processor is running, add oil through pour spout.
  9. Add cheese and process until combined.
  10. Salt to taste.

Quick Notes

This recipe makes enough for 2 pounds of pasta. Freeze unused portion for up to 2 months.

Time: Prep time: 25 minutes Cook time: 7 minutes

Servings: 8

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  1. Posted March 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Hazelnuts make an excellent substitution. I bet you could also substitute walnuts or pecans just for fun. Thank you for the great ideas.

  2. Iman
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Excellent pesto!

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