Cilantro Pesto

I love cilantro for so many reasons and can’t fathom why others don’t enjoy it. It’s a great herb to add when making a fresh salsa, or adds that extra pizazz into your guacamole, or in the majority of Latin and Cuban dishes I prepare – it’s the final garnishment. Basil pesto is often made in my kitchen since I have an abundance of basil. For a little variety in the typical pestos, I love making this cilantro pesto whenever I can. Cilantro is one of those stubborn herbs that I’ve had so many problems growing in my garden. I’m sad to report that I have had no luck with growing cilantro, and I finally pulled out the dying plant. Cilantro is kinda demanding, because it either wants a lot of sun or shade, and depending on the weather here – that doesn’t happen consistently. However, I always stock up on cilantro whenever I’m at the farmers market. Luckily it’s cheap enough (33 cents a bundle) to purchase and I use it for many of my dishes. This sauce is great to use on almost everything to sandwiches, veggie dips, or drizzled over grilled fish or chicken. Go green and make some cilantro pesto. Enjoy!

Cilantro Pesto Adapted from Food Network Magazine May 2010 issue


2 cups gently packed fresh cilantro leaves 3 cloves of garlic juice of one lime 1 cup olive oil 1/2 cup Pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) 1/2 cup queso fresco 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper Preparation: In a food processor, pulse the cilantro, pumpkin seeds, garlic, queso fresco, and salt/pepper until well blended. With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. Add more oil if you like. Makes about 1 cup. Freezes well if needed, and I use the 4 ounce Gladware containers.

Review: I love applying cilantro pesto on my sandwiches instead of mayonnaise because it gives more of a fresh taste of summer instead of a heavier condiment. My fave summer sandwich is made with fresh tomatoes, green leaf lettuce, crispy bacon, California avocados and topped off with cilantro pesto on toasted sourdough bread. (DELISH!) I might have worn that summer sandwich out, but there are a number of applications to use cilantro pesto: hamburgers, pizzas, nachos, fresh veggies, grilled fish, rice, pasta…the possibilities are endless.

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