This is a take on the traditional pesto, with cilantro and almonds. It comes together in minutes, keeps for a few weeks in the refrigerator and can be used in anything from pasta to sandwiches or salad dressing.
I am the hugest fan of pesto. Huge.
A dollop on freshly cooked pasta or rice, a tablespoon spread in a sandwich and whatever I'm eating goes up a notch.
What is pesto?
It is a sauce that hails from Italy, traditionally made in a mortar and pestle, with basil, garlic, nuts and olive oil among its ingredients.
The years and the internet have produced a million and one variations. And we call them all pesto though it might not be completely accurate. But it's still delicious and if you're a purist maybe we can call it paste and that's it.
What is cilantro?
Fresh cilantro (image above) is a green herb similar in looks to parsley.
It has a pungent flavor and, in my opinion, you either love it or hate it. I love it in moderation and hate too much of it, think it tastes like perfume 🤷🏻♀️
For this recipe today we mix it with other ingredients and I think it's just perfectly balanced. This cilantro pesto is really amazing, even for those who are not big fans of it.
Easy to make
To make pesto you simply have to blend all the ingredients together until it is of the consistency you desire.
Most recipes are similar and most pestos can be made with an immersion blender, a regular blender (I, personally, find it very inconvenient because it's hard to take it all out easily and might need to make larger quantities to blend well) or a food processor (not my favorite choice).
You can also use a mortar and pestle but it's more laborious. The sauce will be chunkier because the blender pulverizes everything in a way your arm will probably not be able to do.
That said, choose your own adventure.
Cilantro avocado toast (image above): this is one of my favorite ways, with avocado on a toasted piece of bread.
Pasta: the most common way, add a dollop to a plate of freshly cooked pasta and mix.
Sandwiches: use it as a spread in meat, cold meat, and veggies sandwiches.
Pizza: make it thinner (adding more olive oil) and drizzle on top of a cheese pizza when you remove it from the oven.
Any way you eat it, I'm sure you'll love this cilantro pesto recipe!
Other recipes you might like:
Linguini with Cauliflower Pesto
Spinach Lemon Pesto
Royal Pesto Potato Salad
Mozzarella Pesto Naan Bread
Easy Sun-Dried Tomato Dip
Spicy Turmeric Ginger Cauliflower
Authentic Chimichurri Sauce
Basmati Rice with Salsa Verde
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- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- ½ cup almonds
- 4 garlic cloves (roasted if you like, see Notes below)
- ¼ cup freshly grated asiago cheese
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- A few gratings of lemon zest
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 or 4 tablespoons evaporated milk (or cream)
- Salt and black pepper
- In the bowl of an immersion blender or a food processor, process all of the ingredients until a paste forms.
- Check seasonings and adjust.
- Transfer to a bowl or plastic container, carefully add a thin layer of olive oil on top, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Garlic: you can use it raw or roasted. To roast garlic cloves: put unpeeled cloves in a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and bake them for about half an hour in a 325° oven, until soft.
Storing pesto: use a glass jar (first option) or a plastic container, smooth the top and slowly add olive oil to cover the pesto. This thin layer will prevent the air from getting in and it will last longer and be greener.
Keywords: cilantro pesto
Adapted from an old Bon Appetit magazine