Saturday, March 9, 2013

Weekend Cooking..Cilantro Pesto

Some people love cilantro...some people can not stand it.
If you are one of the later, you best just move on.
Nothing for you here this week. ;-)

 See, I had some ingredients on hand, a bunch of cilantro that would shortly be limp, a jalapeno that would shrivel, a lime that would dry out. And I HATE to waste!

So when I happened upon a recipe for cilantro pesto, it was perfect.
I had almonds in the freezer, along with some frozen cotija from Christmas, so I was all set.

Cilantro Pesto


1 large bunch fresh cilantro, large stems removed.
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 cup grated cotija (or Parmesan) cheese
1/2 jalapeno pepper, diced
1/2 cup almonds, walnuts or pecans

1/2 cup olive oil


In an electric food processor or blender, blend cilantro, garlic, lime juice, cheese, diced pepper, and nuts. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil, and blend.
Add more olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency.

Quick and easy!
So, how can you use this?

Well, here is a list of suggestions from Snappy Gourmet.

  • Now are you wondering what to do with all this great Spicy Cilantro Pesto??? Here are some of my favorite ideas: 
  • Spread a little pesto on your sandwiches or burgers, or mix a little in with some mayo for a sandwich spread. 
  • Mix a little pesto into your favorite pasta salads, potato salads, and coleslaws.
  • Mix a little pesto into your favorite chicken salads, tuna fish, or shrimp salads. 
  • Spread a little pesto on crostini or crackers and top with shrimp, sliced beef, or veggies. 
  •  Mix a little pesto into some sour cream and mayonnaise/yogurt for a delicious veggie or chip dip. Use pesto as a sauce for pasta or mix a little into your favorite tomato sauces. 
  • Spoon pesto over a block of softened cream cheese for a spread that is great with crackers and veggies. 
  • Spoon a little pesto over tacos or your favorite Mexican dishes. 
  • Mix pesto with a little more olive oil and vinegar for a simple vinaigrette dressing for salads. 
  • Mix pesto with a little more olive oil and lime juice and use as a marinade or sauce for chicken, beef, shrimp/fish, or pork. 
  • Use pesto as a sauce for homemade pizza. 
  • Or my personal fave…just eat it straight-up with a spoon!
I can not argue with any of those but I bet there are tons more.

As you can see, I put some on slices of steak, like a cheesy, cilantro version of Chimichurri. Delicious!!
And I think it would be excellent on fish or some grilled chicken as well.
You can add some more oil and make it looser or leave it thicker, mix with hot pasta and add a little pasta water to thin the sauce out to the desired consistency.

I froze the extra.
Ideally, I would have put it in ice cube trays and then pop the frozen nuggets into a zip lock bag, sitting in the freezer until you need it. But having no ice cube trays, I just put it in a zip lock, flattened it out, and will break off some as I need it.

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. I am totally with you and the spoon method of ingesting pesto. This recipe looks great! I bet your house smelled heavenly from making it!

  2. That looks fabulous, I love cilantro (although we call it coriander in Australia), it's my favourite herb. Well done for not letting it go to waste- that happens too often doesn't it/

  3. I adore pesto of any type and was "forced" to make roasted red pepper pesto for the deviled egg recipe I made earlier this week. Oh drat, I had leftovers. Anyway, I'm with you on cilantro and on not running out of ways to eat it.

  4. LOVE pesto, any kind. And I just happened to have a little jalapeño and a wad of cilantro...I am THERE.

  5. Sounds good for cilantro lovers!

  6. My husband has a big aversion to cilantro. It is funny, I don't think there are many herbs that people feel so strongly about; I wonder why that is.

  7. Great colour on the pesto. I'm with you about waste - I ended up inventing a savoury pumpkin and rhubarb pie to avoid having to throw stuff out - it was actually pretty good!

  8. Forgive me for not commenting on your blogs today but I am at the Flower signal stinks....tomorrow!

  9. Cilantro is hit or miss with me. I prefer it in the dried form--probably because it's not as strong but I rarely cook with it except in stirfry and TexMex type foods. BUT it does look tasty on the steak!!

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  11. That mound of pesto just makes me think of Spring! I love everything about pesto and thank you for sharing this recipe.

    1. I was at the Philadelphia Flower Show this weekend and saw a presentation where they made pea and mint about Spring-Like!!

  12. I know people who hate cilantro and I just don't get it. This pesto looks wonderful!

    1. I read that it is a genetic thing...some people have a gene that makes it taste awful to them, like soap or something.
      Happily, I do not have it.

  13. I love homemade pestos. This looks great!


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