Hazelnut Gremolata Recipe

Gremolata is an Italian condiment I adore — a simple, and quickly assembled mix of flat-leaf parsley, lemon zest, and garlic, chopped finely.

It is most traditionally associated with osso buco, and indeed it works wonders (wonders, I tell you!) on any slow-roasted or braised meat dish, sprinkled on just before serving. It tastes fresh and clean, and cuts right through the richness of a stew, brightening the overall flavors by several notches.

But it would be a pity to restrict gremolata to this classic use. You can also:
– stuff it underneath the skin of chicken before roasting (I detail this technique in my post on salt-crusted chicken),
– sprinkle it over roasted eggplant, mushrooms, carrots, or cauliflower,
– use it to garnish soups, especially winter squash soups,
– add it to salads (especially lentil salads) and sandwiches,
– toss it with pasta, white beans, or small waxy potatoes,
– add breadcrumbs and a little bit of oil to form a paste, and spread on fish fillets before baking,
– use it to season steamed mussels or grilled sardines,
– fold it into ricotta or fresh goat cheese to top crostini…

The list goes on and on, so you would do well to mix a big batch whenever you have the ingredients on hand, and keep it in the fridge for a couple of days to add to your cooking and spark new ideas.

And just as the uses are multiple, so too are the possible variations on this glorious trinity: you can use parsley in combination with another fresh herb (I do recommend keeping at least a portion of parsley to retain that flavor thumbprint), you can mix and match citrus zests (orange is also a classic, but grapefruit or bergamot would be inspired twists), and you can add a fillet of anchovy or a few black olives to replace the salt.

I myself like to add roasted hazelnuts to my gremolata for a nutty note, an idea that comes from genius cook Sonia Ezgulian by way of the gremolata bowls she placed on every table when she was a guest chef at Café Pleyel.

And part of my pleasure in making gremolata is that it gives me a chance to use the very nifty hand-cranked mini-chopper I got from Tupperware years ago*. It works a bit like an old-school salad spinner, with a handle and a cord that sets in motion a rotating set of blades (see below). I like the retro-ness of it, and find it is just the thing to produce a gremolata that’s chopped tiny, but not completely ground. Also, handy in the event of a blackout!

Join the conversation!

Do you make gremolata? What’s your version like, and what do you use it on?

Hazelnut Gremolata on Chocolate & Zucchini

*Disclosure: I received this mini chopper for free from the press services of Tupperware France a few years ago, with no obligation to write about it, and no compensation if I ever decided to. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Hazelnut Gremolata Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Makes about 6 tablespoons, a quantity that is just right for four people eating it with a dish of braised meat. The recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Hazelnut Gremolata Recipe


  • the leaves from 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, about 15 grams or 1 cup
  • the zest of 1 large organic lemon, peeled into strips with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • about 20 hazelnuts, optionally roasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process in short pulses until finely chopped, but not puréed: you should still be able to make out the individual flecks of citrus zest and parsley. Alternatively, you can chop the ingredients by hand.
  2. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 2 days.
  • Thank you for another great post about something that looks so delicious and sounds so wonderful and yet I haven’t had the opportunity to try. Gremolata is now on my radar!

  • First time I heard of this wonderful culinary mix! We have lots of butternut squash recently harvested from the potager, and guess what will grace them? :-)

    • It will be just wonderful with your butternut squash, however you choose to prepare it (soup, roasted, steamed, hot or cold). I hope you’ll let us know how it turns out!

  • oh, indeed, gremolata is a gem, but with hazelnuts?! genius! i have a few pounds of my favorite holmquist hazelnuts tucked away, always, in my freezer. i think i shall whip up a batch of this promptly, to stir into the beans (brilliant!) + summer’s last zucchini.

    thank you!

    • Please let me know how you like it!

  • I’m glad you like Sonia Ezgulian too. I discovered her through her articles in Régal. She is a wonderful mix of super creative and super practical.

    • A very apt description! I adore her work, so full of delicious whimsy.

  • Anne McDermott

    I’ve been playing with gremolata ideas for years. Latest is a chopped coriander, spring onion and cumquat mix used on a light chicken curry and (with thai basil added) on roast lotte/monkfish tail with spices and herbs. Just soo good!

    • Oh yum, that sounds explosively flavorsome, thanks for sharing!

  • I make a blend like this to mix with chickpeas, but with walnuts added (though hazelnuts sound pretty great too). I always thought of it as “student pesto” (no cheese, no expensive pine nuts), glad to know I can now give it a more exotic name :)

    • A low-budget pesto, you’re right, that’s a good way of thinking about it!

  • Rosalyn

    This looks amazing… When I make pesto, I add a couple of teaspoons of acid whey, strained from natural yogurt. You can’t taste it and it adds weeks to the shelf-life if you like to make a bigger batch or just use a little at a time spread on toast

    • How interesting! Would you be able to explain the reason why the whey extends the shelf life of pesto?

      • Rosalyn

        Adding whey introduces a lacto-culture to your condiments, preserved them with the aid of a fermenation process. It’s a very traditional way to preserve food and you use it for mayonnasie, sauces etc… there is so much you can do with it. There is a huge wealth of information on the internet, but eatingrules has a straightforward post. There are other things you can use to introduce lactic acid, but I like to strain it from yogurt because the strained yogurt turns into something between a creme fraîche and a cream cheese – delicious spread on toasted sourdough with some salt cracked over the top! Culturing foods also adds and amazing depth of flavour and supports your digestive system with probiotics.

        • Thanks so much, Rosalyn, that’s most interesting, and I’m bookmarking the link!

  • Lovely blog that I discovered during long August afternoons, trying to escape the Southern European heat which prevented most cooking adventures. Now autumn is here and I can start to put some ideas into practice!

    An aside,but still: how do you roast cabbage? We love roasted veggies and often do all sort of roots as well as zucchini and eggplant, but they can all be cut in rather uniform pieces. I just don’t see how to cut the cabbage in a roastable way?

    • Thanks Annannan! I’ve actually written a whole post about roasting cabbage. Let me know if you still have questions!

  • That mini chopper is one of the best things in my kitchen! I brought it with me when I moved here from Australia!

    • So pleased to hear that! It’s such a convenient and fun little utensil, I’m glad it got to travel with you down under.

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