Gourmet Veggie Mama

Spicy cilantro pesto

I love cilantro, but I can hardly ever use an entire bunch before it goes bad. So, when my CSA box showed up with a beautiful bunch of cilantro last week, I knew I couldn’t let it go to waste. Enter cilantro pesto.

Green deliciousness.

I threw the cilantro, some walnuts, a jalapeno (why not?), ample parmesan and olive oil, and some other odds and ends into the food processor, and, after a little tasting and adjustment, the result was delicious.

We used the pesto as a spread on a grilled cheese sandwich, and it was divine (and an easy weeknight dinner, to boot). The leftovers served as a sauce for some frozen ravioli a couple of days later — also delicious and easy. This is definitely going to be my go-to use for cilantro in the future.

Spicy Cilantro Pesto

1 bunch cilantro, washed
1 jalapeno, stem end removed and halved*
1/2 cup walnuts**
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp salt
Juice of one lime

Combine the cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the olive oil in a stream with the mixer running. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and pulse until well combined. Add the salt and lime juice and pulse until combined.

* You can also remove the seeds and veins if you don’t want too much of a kick. Wuss.

** You can always substitute pine nuts, pecans, almonds, or pretty much any nuts of your choosing. For a nut-free pesto, you can even use sunflower seeds.

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14 Thoughts on “Spicy cilantro pesto

  1. Melissa on May 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm said:

    Delicious! I’ve used cilantro in my chimichurri recipe instead of parsley which makes for a great combo with hummus.

  2. Les Virgil on May 1, 2012 at 3:04 pm said:

    This sounds so good! I was about to leave for the grocer’s, so I will have to add a few items to the list. Thanks!

  3. I am zee Wuss. I shall go for zee less spicy version. Other than that, it looks really good.

  4. Sounds awesome!

  5. I’ve done a cilantro pecan pesto – love the idea of lime and jalepeno with it. Next time I get it in my CSA box I am all over it!

  6. Kim Marshall on May 4, 2012 at 3:52 pm said:

    Tried it, loved it. Keep it coming. Thank you

  7. evahowe on May 13, 2012 at 11:05 pm said:

    I admit to being a bit of basil pesto snob and I was a bit skeptical about it, but as we have a cilantro plant out my back door going nuts, I thought I would try it. I have to admit it was super tasty!! I have been a bit obsessed with grilled cheese lately and have been having a good time putting different things in it. It makes a great meal for lunch that Walter and I can both eat!

    • I’m so glad you tried it and liked it! Did Walter try this one? Did the spice bother him at all? I wonder, since Nora seems to be handling spicy things better and better nowadays, but I was still reluctant to share this one with her!

      • evahowe on May 16, 2012 at 9:34 pm said:

        I did feed it to Walter and he liked it a lot. The spice didn’t bother him much. However, he seems to be handling most spicy things and ate a good chunk of a spicy Indian dish too a week ago. So give Nora some – I bet she will think it is tasty. I also diluted the pesto down with meyer lemon juice to make a quick salad dressing the other night when I discovered I was out! So many uses for it! 🙂

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