Why I love this cilantro pesto
I think by now we have established that I love pesto. I really do. It’s so easy to make and to eat – seriously I could eat the whole pound of pasta by myself.
The only thing I don’t like about pesto is the cost of making it. I mean, unless you have a bountiful garden full of basil, you are going to spend some big bucks on basil and pine nuts.
But guess what isn’t expensive. Cilantro. It’s always under a dollar and the bunches are huge. Go to a farmers’ market and its even cheaper.
My mom came home with two bunches the other day for $2 and after cleaning and removing the stems, we had 8 cups of cilantro. 8 cups. What in the world is anyone supposed to do with 8 cups of cilantro?
Make pesto, of course. I divided up the cilantro and made 2 batches of this cilantro pesto and another 2 batches of my cilantro peanut pesto.
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Here’s what you’ll need to make it
You can use this pesto in so many different ways. You can swap cilantro pesto in any recipe calling for traditional basil pesto.
Toss it with some al dente pasta for a quick dinner.
Add pesto to a vinaigrette for a fresh salad dressing.
Use it as a marinade from grilled shrimp skewers.
Stir some into mayonnaise for a flavorful sandwich spread.
How to make cilantro pesto
To make cilantro pesto, you’ll need cilantro, slivered almonds, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt & pepper. You will need to wash your cilantro really well and remove the large stems.
I really only remove the super thick or woody ones, because I don’t like spending too much time with this step. Plus, it all gets blended up in the end anyway.
Then you’ll need to put all of the ingredients and blend in a food processor bowl. Keep blending until the pesto is almost smooth and it’s a consistent, bright green color. You may need to scrape the sides of your bowl as you go to make sure things aren’t getting stuck in the corners.
Can you freeze cilantro pesto?
This recipe makes about 1 cup of pesto sauce, which I think is more than enough for 1 pound of pasta, or any other recipe you might need it for. It should stay fresh in the fridge for about a week.
If you don’t use all of your pesto right away, or if you feel like making a couple batches at once, you can definitely freeze it for later. I like to freeze mine in 1/2 cup containers (leftover from making baby food) so I never have to thaw too much out. If I need a whole cup, I’ll just thaw two containers.
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This inexpensive cilantro pesto made with almonds is a simple, easy way to use extra cilantro. It’s vegan, dairy free, and paleo approved.
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds (or 2/3 cup whole almonds)
- 2 cups fresh cilantro, large stems removed
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
- Combine all ingredient in the bowl of a food processor.
- Blend until smooth, scraping sides as needed.
- Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper, to taste.