A versatile and extremely flavoursome Basil & Hazelnut Pesto recipe that comes together in 10 minutes. Use pesto in pasta dishes, sandwiches, or as a filling for tear-and-share bread or a pizza topping! If you’ve been buying pesto up until now, I am sure you will appreciate the difference in both flavour and texture that you get in just 10 minutes of effort! And how amazing is it that you can make pesto without pinenuts?!
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Most pestos can be made in a pestle and mortar. However, since we are making pesto with hazelnuts, it is very difficult to get them ground up manually, as hazelnuts are relatively hard nuts. That’s why we employed one of our favourite kitchen tools – Kenwood Food Processor to make this Basil & Hazelnut Pesto.
Can You Make Pesto Without Pinenuts?
Absolutely! 100%! Yes! We have been making pesto for years, and very rarely do we use pinenuts. Various other nuts, like walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts work just as well in pesto and don’t have such a high price tag attached to them.
Whilst buttery nuts, like pecans and walnuts, make smoother pesto, I find that hazelnuts add a more earthy flavour to the pesto. To ensure the smooth texture of your hazelnut pesto, you simply need to grind the nuts into finer crumbs than you would pine nuts. However, don’t over-blend or your hazelnuts risk turning into nut butter!
Ingredients and Substitutes
- hazelnuts: use blanched (skinless) hazelnuts for pesto for the most vibrant colour and better texture.
- garlic cloves
- lemons: juice only. We used 2 small lemons in this recipe, but adjust the amount used based on the size of your lemons, the zinginess of the and your own personal tastebuds.
- olive oil: extra virgin.
- basil: leaves only, stalks discarded.
- parmesan: can be replaced with Padana Grano cheese.
- salt: we used Malden Sea Salt flakes.
How to Blanch Hazelnuts?
Boil water in a medium pan and add 2 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda (not baking powder). Drop the hazelnuts in and boil for approximately 5 minutes. Drain the hazelnuts and place them into a bowl of ice-cold water immediately. Remove the skins using your fingers.
If the skins aren’t coming off easily, leave the hazelnuts to soak for a few more minutes. Place the blanched almonds in between two clean tea towels and rub them dry. Leave them to air-dry for a couple of hours, then store them in an airtight container! Used these blanched nuts to make hazelnut pesto or in baking!
Method: How To Make Hazelnut Pesto?
To make the pesto, all you need to do is to place the blanched hazelnuts into a food processor and blend until they look like coarse breadcrumbs. Then add peeled garlic cloves and blitz for another 10 seconds. Add the basil leaves, grated parmesan and half the olive oil and half of the lemon juice and blend into a thick paste. Pour in the rest of the oil and season with salt to taste.
Using a spatula, scoop the pesto out into a jar or airtight container. Adjust the taste by adding more lemon juice is needed. That’s it! You have your own delicious homemade pesto! Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days!
A Different Pesto Recipe?
Fancy making more pesto without pinenuts? If you don’t have ingredients for this hazelnut pesto recipe, maybe you’d like to try our Walnut & Cheddar Pesto instead!
What To Use Pesto For?
Looking for recipes to use your homemade hazelnut pesto in?
- Spread the pesto on the slices of bread, top with cheese and make delicious toasties.
- Mix your pesto with ground almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts or breadcrumbs and spread on white fish before cooking in the oven.
- Pesto with hazelnuts makes a delicious pizza topping too!
Here are some of our favourites recipes using hazelnut pesto:
- Basil Pesto & Cheese Sourdough Pull-Apart Bread
- Tuna and Pesto Pasta Bake with Cherry Tomatoes & Mozzarella
- Quick & Easy Veggie Pesto Pasta
Basil and Hazelnut Pesto
- 100 g blanched hazelnuts
- 4 garlic cloves roughly chopped
- 2 small lemons juice only
- 150 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 80 g basil leaves
- 100 g parmesan finely grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Place the blanched hazelnuts into a food processor and blend until they look like coarse breadcrumbs.
- Add garlic and blitz for 10 seconds. Then add the basil leaves, grated parmesan and half the olive oil and half of the lemon juice and blend into a thick paste. Pour in the rest of the oil and season with salt to taste. Adjust the taste with more lemon to your preference.
- Using a spatula, scoop the pesto out into a jar or airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
This pesto was really really delicious, the hazelnut gives it such a different flavor which I really enjoyed. It was so easy to make, I will definitely be making this on repeat!!
Thanks, Cam! I totally agree – pesto with hazelnuts is even more flavoursome than the traditional one made with pinenuts!
I have made pesto with macadamia nuts before but never considered hazelnut. It was delicious! I made a big batch and we’ve used it a couple of times. We especially liked it on grilled salmon.
I’ve never made pesto with macadamia nuts 😀 Glad you enjoyed our hazelnut version 💗
We are big fans of hazelnuts but have never had them this way. Sounds like a fabulous pesto and I can’t wait to try it.
Andrea, you absolutely should! It’s really nice 🙂
I absolutely love pesto, and this recipe is the best that I’ve ever made! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!
Thanks for giving it a go and I’m so glad you liked it! 🙂