Hazelnut and Coolea Cheese Basil Pesto

Written by Karen Coakley

Pesto Header

There are a trillion recipes out there for Pesto. Many of the them have varying ingredients and use things such as Rocket or Kale for their Pesto. For me I like my Pesto to be Pesto, nothing more or less. The one thing I have discovered over the years is that I don’t like Pine-nuts! I get around this by using Hazelnuts instead of Pine-nuts which are also much cheaper! As I’m a West Cork girl I use one of my ABSOLUTE favourite cheeses here, an aged Coolea which is salty, nutty and almost caramely in taste with a texture just like that of Parmesan so it works wonders!

Feel free to use Pine-nuts and regualar Parmesan in this recipe. The one thing Mr C comments on always as to why he loves this one so much is that there is a lovely texture to the Pesto from the Hazelnuts as I don’t over blend them.

It’s perfect with Pasta which kids always seem to love and ideal for school lunchboxes or mixed through Mayonnaise drizzled over pan fried chicken fillets served on some mixed leaves, tomato and red onion for a tasty yet light Chicken Pesto Salad



  1. Place all of the ingredients with a tiny drop of olive oil into a blender and blend until nicely combined.
  2. Check the seasoning and add a little more salt if needed.
  3. Drizzle in extra olive oil until you get the consistency you want, you don’t want it to be too stiff or too smooth.
  4. Pour into a sterilised jar and store in the fridge.
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