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Dairy Free Hazelnut Pesto

A bright, fresh alternative to traditional pesto sauce. Combining fresh basil with hazelnuts instead of pine nuts, this dairy free pesto sauce packs a punch of flavor and livens up any dish.

Dairy free pesto in a polka dot bowl topped with hazelnuts and fresh basil

For anyone that complains that healthy eating is boring, just get some fresh herbs. They will brighten up any dish, and add so much flavor.

Pesto is one of my favorite things to make, because it’s so simple and you can put it on almost anything. It’s especially handy for eating veggies you don’t particularly care for–just coat them in a bit of pesto, and they are transformed into delicious!

As we venture into making this dairy free pesto, let’s talk about one Big Important Question:

Does the olive oil you use matter?

The answer is YES. Yes, yes, yes.

Not all olive oil is created equal, and not all olive oil tastes the same. In my post, ‘What’s Really In Your Olive Oil?”, I talk about the hidden life of olive oil, as well as the olive oil I recommend the most – Kasandrinos.

I used hazelnuts here instead of pine nuts, just because that was what I had on hand. You could easily use pine nuts if you had them. I like experimenting with different ingredients and seeing what different flavor combinations come out like.

As long as you are sticking with the basic ingredients, you can’t mess this dairy free pesto up. You won’t even notice that there’s no parmesan cheese in it either, except now you will, because I just pointed it out.

But you won’t need it. It’s just as delicious without it, promise.

Fresh Basil Pesto

Fresh Basil Pesto

Yield: 1 /4 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This fresh basil hazelnut pesto recipe will brighten any dish! It's dairy free and pairs well with veggies and chicken for an easy weeknight meal.


  • 1 c packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 c hazelnuts
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt


  1. Combine the basil, hazelnuts, olive oil, and sea salt in a food processor.
  2. Pulse a few times, then run until smooth or your desired consistency, scraping down the sides periodically. If mixture seems too thick, add additional olive oil a small amount at a time to thin.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 /4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 685Saturated Fat: 9gSodium: 585mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 6g
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