This Italian Parsley Toasted Hazelnut Pesto has a bright flavor from the parsley and a warmth from the toasted hazelnuts. You can use this pesto in a dressing for salads or simply as a spread on a toast. rice cakes or crostinis.
One of the wonderful thing about pesto is that you get the health benefits of whatever vegetables or herbs you use. I have been making variations of pesto for many years now and I never tire of them due to the endless combinations.
This Italian Parsley Toasted Hazelnut Pesto pairs beautifully with a Prosecco or Cava. I also enjoy it with a Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand.
Italian Parsley Toasted Hazelnut Pesto Recipe:
Approx. 1 1/2 Cups
- 2 Cups Italian Parsley Leaves
- 1 Cup Toasted Hazelnuts – recipe below
- 1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3/4 Cup Aged Asiago Cheese or Parmesan – finely shredded
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
- 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 – 14 minutes. In about 5 – 7 minutes stir the nuts so they toast evenly while also checking on the progress.
When hazelnuts are cool put in the center of a towel and pull corners of the towel together and roll hazelnuts around with some force till skins come loose. A small amount of skin will remain on the nuts and that is fine.
Sometimes I separate the ones that the skins didn’t come off and put them back in the oven for a few more minutes.
When cool grind them in a food processor until fairly fine.
Measure everything then put all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend well. Make sure to scrape the sides at least once.
Parsley contains calcium, iron and potassium, antioxidant vitamins A and C. It contains extremely high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin. Scientific research suggests it may help protect against macular degeneration. It is also high in vitamin K, which strengthen the bones.
Hazelnuts are one of the only tree nuts with folate that may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and depression. They have a high concentration of oleic acid an omega-9 fatty acid that is known to prevent cancer, reduce blood pressure, prevent strokes and help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol that helps prevent heart attacks. They are also rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium, the minerals help regulate blood pressure. Hazelnuts are one of the richest in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that promotes healthy skin, hair and nails. They are also packed with B vitamins that bring energy to your cells and increase the metabolism. They are one of the few nuts that contain vitamin A, which is great for your eyes and are also high in dietary fiber and minerals like manganese, selenium and zinc.
*People who are allergic to peanuts, macadamia nut and/or Brazil nut might also be allergic to hazelnuts.