Dips, Sauces and Spreads, Gluten-free

Sun-Dried Tomato, Hazelnut Pesto

Loreto June 21, 2017

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Sun-Dried Tomato, Hazelnut Pesto, a diverse and beautiful sauce that is both subtle and extraordinary at the same time.

Song of the day: ” Mama Maè” by Negrita (an Italian band).

Sun-dried Tomato Hazelnut Pesto

[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop. We’ve been compensated but the content and opinions expressed are our own.]

Sun-Dried Tomato, Hazelnut Pesto, combines the slow sun-dried process of tomatoes and the smoky, nutty flavour of hazelnuts, to create a wonderful sauce that is absolutely amazing on pasta, and even more so steamed on a nice piece of fish, or slathered on crostini, the possibilities endless.  A great easy way to a quick and delicious family meal.



Sun-dried tomatoes were the focus of week three of our 4 part series on pesto, sponsored by the Italian Centre Shop, where you can find all the wonderful ingredients to make this pesto.

Although it is unclear of the origin of sun-dried tomatoes, historians say that it is a known fact that Aztecs were preserving their tomatoes with this process around the year 700 AD. Later is said that Italians used this method of preservation, and used to dry their tomatoes on the ceramic roof tiles in the summer sun. A 4-10 day period and these babies were ready. There are no shortages of these types of roofs in Italy, that is for sure. Sun-dried tomatoes finally made their way into North America in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s.

The Sun-dried Tomato, Hazelnut Pesto is truly from the regions of Southern Italy, where the climate, terrain and tradition make it an ideal place to cultivate the ingredients for this pesto. I can try to narrow the area down in the south, but as my father taught me, pick your battles wisely, lol, and if you know Italians’ passion for what they produce is ultimately high and in their hearts. Since we used hazelnuts it would be more from the region of Campania, if we would have used almonds it would have been from Sicily. This is what I love about Italy, each Region specialised, identified, and praised for their food. Food, in Italian cibo, defines the Italian culture.

Sun-dried Tomato Hazelnut Pesto

Sun-dried Tomato, Hazelnut Pesto, and the ingredient gathering begins!

These sun-dried tomatoes are so vibrant in colour, but not only are they beautiful, they are packed with nutrients and flavour. The sun drying process does not take anything away from the tomatoes, nutritionally. These beauties are packed with lycopene, antioxidants, and vitamin C, and hold a 2-6 % of salt that could provide a significant amount to your daily intake. These you see here above were placed in a jar and topped with olive oil. You may find some with herbs placed into the jars, each one will provide a distinct flavour profile. Don’t these ingredients look absolutely beautiful and intriguing? The sun-dried tomatoes we bought from The Italian Centre Shop were packed in e.v.o. oil, spices, and capers, which provided an even more sophisticated flavour profile.

The list goes something like this:

-Sun-dried tomatoes

-Roasted hazelnuts

-Fresh basil

-Parmigiano Reggiano

-Extra virgin cold pressed olive oil

All you need is a food processor and some of that Italian passion, and you are well on your way to making a beautiful and delicious tasting Sun-dried Tomato, Hazelnut Pesto! 

All the ingredients go into the food processor except the olive oil. As you have learned from our weeks of pesto making, the olive oil goes in last, and specify the exact amount is not an Italian trait in -almost- any recipe. Do not ask me why, that’s what we were taught, “quanto basta“, just enough, feel it, you may need more, you may need less. Here, it is the difference between a soup and a paste, and do we really want to argue with a nonna or mom and dad, with them being all Italian and that, I think not!

We left it a bit thicker as we placed it into a jar and topped it off with olive oil. The key when making it is not to full throttle the food processor, just pulse, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, and constant awareness on your part to observe the consistency. You can call it one-pointedness, even a meditation if you want. The end result, a magnificent pesto.

Sundried Tomato Hazelnut Pesto

The flavour of the pesto is out of this world.  The sun-dried tomatoes offering that salty, rich sweet acidic complex taste. The hazelnuts smoky, nutty with that bit of earthiness. The basil waking our senses to the fact that mother nature makes things better, and that freshly grated Parmigiano kicking the taste buds to an awakening of some sort. Bring this pesto together, that extra virgin cold pressed good quality D.O.P olive oil. The completion, a beautiful, rich, velvety, flavorful Sun-dried Tomato, Hazelnut Pesto! 

I made a fish dish the other night. Nice thick piece of cod placed in a parchment packet (en papillote), all slathered up with this pesto. I only have one thing to say, OMG simply amazing! So you have this pesto whether you stored it in the freezer, or packed it in a jar with olive oil. Taste it, ask your inner self what it wants to create, trust that inner voice, and be pleasantly surprised at what you can do creatively!

From our kitchen at Sugarlovespices to yours.


Song of the day: ” Mama Maè” by Negrita.

Sundried Tomato Hazelnut Pesto

Sun-dried Tomato, Hazelnut Pesto

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 2 small food containers 1x


  • 100 g sun-dried tomatoes in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 25 g (1/4 cup) hazelnuts, roasted
  • 25 g (1/3 cup) Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  • 6 g fresh basil leaves
  • about 50 ml (6 Tbsp) e.v.o. oil + more to top it off in the jar


  1. Gently wash and dry basil leaves.
  2. Place hazelnuts in a small saute pan and toast to a medium to high heat, tossing them consistently as not to burn them, for about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Place hazelnuts on a clean dish towel and rub them using the towel to loosen off some of the skin. Set aside to cool.
  4. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes and add them to the food processor.
  5. Add all the other ingredients except the olive oil and start pulsing to blend them.
  6. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, continually pulsing until mixture comes to a soft and spreadable consistency.
  7. Scoop mixture out of food processor bowl and into 2 small plastic food storage containers or mason jar (see Notes).


If you’re not freezing your pesto, you can put it into a small mason jar, but remember to top the pesto with a drizzle of olive oil which will preserve it in the fridge for about 5-6 days. If storing in the freezer, use the small plastic containers and do not top off the pesto with olive oil. The pesto will keep for a couple of months.

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[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop. We’ve been compensated but the content and opinions expressed are our own.]

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  • Avatar
    Reply Redawna June 21, 2017 at 10:39 am

    I have to try this! It sounds fantastic. I have to admit, I have never made a pesto before, Looking forward to trying it. Have a wonderful day.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 21, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      Hi Redawna, don’t be afraid, just remember the golden rule olive oil last and watch the consistency which should be like a soft peanut butter, and it will be fine. It is so easy you will want to make it time and again. The best part is you can make a batch and freeze it, or put it in a jar topped with olive oil, this way you have it on hand and many recipe can come of this wonder sauce!
      Bidding you a fabulous day!

  • Avatar
    Reply Ann Sageer June 21, 2017 at 10:39 am

    I’ve never met a pesto I didn’t like and this one is very special! I’ve yet to have this combination of flavors but I absolutely intend to make it!! Delicious! Pinned!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 21, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Hi Annie, I am with you on the the pesto love train. in the last little while we have tried so many different combinations, and each one delicious and beautiful in its own right. Can’t wait for you to try this one. It is also a great marinade, or even on a crostini, absolutely fabulous
      Have a great rest of the week Annie
      Ciao for now!

  • Avatar
    Reply Denise Pare-Watson June 21, 2017 at 10:46 am

    I adore pesto in any way and I am so looking forward to trying your version. I have not tried pesto using this combination of ingredients – it sounds

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 21, 2017 at 12:17 pm

      Thank you Denise, I think you are going to love the flavor of this pesto, so vibrant and rich and its uses endless. I did a fish steamed in a parchment packet with that pesto all slathered on it. It was so delicious and succulent. Would love to hear how you liked it.
      Have a wonderful day!

  • Avatar
    Reply Starr @ The Misfit Baker June 21, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    I’ve never seen a non-green pesto before. This sounds delicious, and I bet it would be fantastic simply spread over some bread!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 21, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      Now your talking. You are so on track wanting to spread this pesto on bread. A nice crusty, rustic Italian bread grilled nicely over a hot bbq, yum, Back yard barbeque comes to mind! Thanks Starr for checking out our recipe and commenting.

  • Avatar
    Reply Kim June 21, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    This is perfect! I have 2 bug jars of sundried tomatoes! Now I know what to use them for, thank you!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 21, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      What are fellow bloggers for, to inspire one another, and to remind us waht things we have made and what to do with them. Love those sun dried tomatoes and in this pesto truly amazing, can’t wait to hear how you made out! Thanks for the comment and for stopping by Kim
      Have a great sun shiny day!

  • Avatar
    Reply Brittany June 21, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    I love the idea of making pesto as a form of meditation. This looks so delicious!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 21, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      Great minds think alike they say, and for me it has been quite busy lately, and to be able to focus and just be with a recipe is a fantastic feeling, combined with working together with my beautiful wife who works so hard at this blog, it makes all the difference in the world and I am so grateful to her!
      Have a wonderful week and thanks for your comment Brittany!

  • Avatar
    Reply Emilie Iggiotti | Edmonton Photographer June 21, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Hum this looks so good!! I definitely have to try this!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 21, 2017 at 3:37 pm

      Hi Emilie, thanks a bunch for stopping by, you are going to love this pesto, so much flavor and so inticing to look at. Would love to hear how you make out with this one.
      Happy Pesto making!

  • Avatar
    Reply Dawn @ Girl Heart Food June 22, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Another FABULOUS pesto, you guys!! Love love love sundried tomatoes so this one is calling my name for sure! Awesome on pasta, sandwiches or just about anything, I’m sure. I can just taste it now 🙂 I did a similar recipe with the pesto on halibut and it was divine. Can’t beat those packet dinners. Pinning! Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 22, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      Hi Dawn thankyou for your wonderfully charged comment. I know those parchment packets work so well with fish and that pesto the way it just lovingly worked its way into the flesh of that succulent fish was tremedous, and so delicious as those flakes just fell onto your fork!
      Have a wonderful day, its almost the weekend!

  • Avatar
    Reply Stephanie June 22, 2017 at 9:47 am

    I love pesto but never thought of making it with sun dried tomatoes. This sounds so yummy! Putting this on my to do list. Pinning 🙂

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 22, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      Thanks Stephanie for checking out our Sundried Tomato pesto. I think you are going to love the flavors and color of this sauce, not to mention the aroma so delicious and temptiing!
      Happy pesto making!

  • Avatar
    Reply Ginger Wroot August 7, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Found you via Twitter, and so glad that I did! This pesto looks like something I will love. I eat low carb now, so I seek out especially toothsome and flavorful sauces and pestos to use on zoodles, for instance. Can’t wait to make this. Pinned, and thanks! –G

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto August 7, 2017 at 9:41 am

      Hi Ginger so glad you found us and are enjoying our blog. There are many recipes to try and a lot more coming. Thanks for checking us out and enjoy!

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