I love cilantro, which I understand is not a sentiment shared by all. But I love its zesty freshness as a great complement and garnish to a number of dishes, like elote corn or these tasty shrimp-stuffed avocados. However, most recipes with cilantro require a very limited amount, leaving the remaining bouquet of greens to hang out in my fridge, growing limper and sadder day after day until I finally throw it away. Resolved to end this sad cycle of cilantro waste, I was inspired to make cilantro pesto. Finally, a recipe where this flavorful herb was the key ingredient rather than the decorative afterthought. Cilantro pesto is such a versatile sauce (or is it a spread?) that can be used for every meal of the day. Also, did I mention that it’s easy to make AND absolutely delicious?
- 2 bunches fresh cilantro, washed and patted dry
- 1/2 cup blanched, slivered almonds
- 4 Tablespoons cotija cheese
- 1 large garlic clove, smashed and peeled
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 lime
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Toast the almonds in a small skillet over medium heat. Place in a clean dish to cool.
- In a food processor (or blender), add toasted almonds and pulse until coarsely chopped.
- Add the tops of two bunches of cilantro and pulse until coarsely chopped.
- Next, add the remaining ingredients: cotija cheese, salt, garlic and the juice of a whole lime. Pulse until coarsely ground.
- Then, with the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and blend until smooth.
Toast the slivered almonds until they smell nutty and are turning a little golden brown. Add them to the food processor and pulse until they’re coarsely chopped. Next, add the tops of two bunches of cilantro and coarsely chop.
Add the cotija cheese, juice from one lime, a crushed clove of garlic and salt.
With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Blend until the ingredients are a smooth(ish) consistency. Ta-da! And you’re done.
Now the real question is, what are you going to do with your cilantro pesto? I find myself sneaking spoonfuls or using it as a zesty dip for potato chips. The possibilities are really endless because it’s so good on anything and everything. But to give you a starting point, I want to share with you three ways this tasty spread can elevate every meal of your day.
Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs
Add a heaping scoop to scrambled eggs, top off with a bit of the extra cotija cheese and you’ll have eggs so green that even Sam-I-Am will want a taste.
Lunch: Roasted Turkey Sandwich
Take your turkey sandwich to the next level by using cilantro pesto as a substitute for mayo. Not only is this a healthier alternative, but combined with melted swiss cheese and fresh tomatoes, the flavor is off the chain.
Dinner: Chicken Kebabs
In these final days of summer, fire up that grill and cook up some chicken kebabs for a colorful and healthy dinner. Take them to the next level with a generous spread of cilantro pesto. Be sure to include an extra dipping side of pesto — you won’t regret it! It’s THAT good.
How will you use your cilantro pesto? Tweet us your favorite dishes @BritandCo!