Hazelnut Pesto Tortellini Pasta (Vegetarian)

Ready to talk about this pasta?

I hadn’t had tortellini in years, but for some reason when I thought up this hazelnut pesto, I just knew that it would go amazingly well with tortellini.

Top-down view of vegetarian Hazelnut Pesto Tortellini Pasta recipe on a white ceramic plate with a bowl of roasted Brussels sprouts.

Welp, what can I say, I was right. The nuts offer a bit of crunch and a more rustic flavor than a more traditional pine nut version, or our alternative almond one.

And this plant-based pasta sauce is also vegan and gluten free!

Oblique view of a white ceramic plate with a white ceramic bowl of roasted Brussels sprouts in the background.

I paired it with five-cheese tortellini, and mixed in some Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes for a bit of tanginess.

Keep in mind that this recipe is totally customizable to suit your tastes. Amp up the flavors by roasting the olives in herbs and garlic. Add some red pepper flakes to the dish if you like a bit of spice.

And you might want to try your hand with making pasta from scratch. Our recipes for gnocchi and spelt ravioli will you give you the same heartiness as the tortellini.

If you are opposed to any of these ingredients, just leave them out.

I served this homemade pesto and pasta combo last weekend at a friend’s house without the extra veggies, and it was great.

Except for the fact that I undercooked the dry tortellini that we had on hand just a bit… I used the frozen ones here, and I found them much easier to cook. But now that I know how to cook them in the pressure cooker, I get perfect results every time, dry or frozen!

Top-down view of a homemade vegan hazelnut pesto on pasta, on a white porcelain plate on a light green place mat.

If you don’t get enough cheese from your tortellini, then you could theoretically serve these with a bit of grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano on top… but I think I’d call you a little crazy, since you don’t even need it. There’s so much flavor in this dish already!

Closeup, top-down view of a white ceramic plate full of a vegetarian hazelnut pesto cheese tortellini recipe. A stainless steel fork sits to the left of the plate.

If you can find vegan or gluten-free tortellini… try it! And let me know how it is. Because I would LOVE to try them myself. As an alternative, if you can’t have any cheese or gluten, go ahead and serve this over plain or gluten-free noodles. The pesto will still rock your world.

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Top down view of a vegetarian hazelnut pesto tortellini past recipe.

Hazelnut Pesto Tortellini Pasta (Vegetarian)

  • Author: Raquel Smith
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 5 servings 1x


The most delicious way to eat tortellini – with pesto! For this recipe, it’s delicious hazelnut pesto. Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes are added for a bit of extra kick. This super easy recipe comes together in just 20 minutes. So delicious!



For the Tortellini:

  • 1 recipe hazelnut pesto (below)
  • 2025 oz frozen cheese tortellini*
  • 10 Kalamata olives
  • 7 artichoke heart quarters
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes*
  • olive oil, for drizzling

For the Hazelnut Pesto Sauce:

  • 2 oz (3 herb packs) fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


For the Hazelnut Pesto Sauce:

  1. Rinse the basil well and pat dry. Remove the stems and place the leaves in a food processor.
  2. Add the hazelnuts, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast to the food processor. Pulse, then blend until mostly smooth, but still a bit chunky. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times to make sure everything is incorporated.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste. If your nuts are salted, you likely won’t need any additional salt.

For the Tortellini:

  1. Cook the tortellini according to package directions, and drain well. Drizzle a bit of oil into the cooking pot, then transfer the tortellini back to the pan. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top, then stir it in.
  2. Make the hazelnut pesto, above.
  3. Cut the Kalamata olives and artichoke quarters in half, and chop the sun-dried tomatoes.
  4. Add the pesto, olives, artichokes, and tomatoes to the pan with the cooked tortellini, then gently stir to coat and combine.
  5. Serve immediately, with a veggie on the side (we made Brussels sprouts!).


You could also used dehydrated tortellini, though they will take longer to cook. I would guess that about 12 ounces of dry tortellini would roughly equal the amount of frozen tortellini used in this recipe.

I like to use sun-dried tomatoes in oil, but you could also use reconstituted dried sun-dried tomatoes.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: hazelnut, pesto tortellini, pasta, vegetarian, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes

Did you try this recipe? If you loved it, please leave a comment and a rating below!

I adore vegetarian pasta dishes. This is one of my favorites, and my rigatoni dish with asparagus is a very close second.

And if this made your taste buds shout with joy, then these other pesto recipes will do the same:

Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on December 1, 2014. Last updated: July 9, 2023 at 9:30 am.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Raquel Smith

Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now merged into Foodal).

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