Cilantro Pesto

by Daisy on 04/25/2009

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The cilantro is going great guns and the best way I know to use a lot of it at once is pesto. And wow, if you are a cilantro fan and have never tasted cilantro pesto you are in for a treat. I use pecans because I have a lot of those, too, but you can use whatever nut you have in abundance (insert your own joke here).

Cilantro Pesto
makes about 2 cups

5 oz. (about 4 cups packed) fresh cilantro
2/3 cup vegetable oil (olive, canola, etc.)
2/3 cup toasted nuts (pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, et al.), chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Wash the cilantro. This is what 5 oz. of cilantro looks like:

Roughly chop the cilantro into big sections. Put the cilantro, oil, garlic and nuts in a blender or food processor.


Blend until smooth. This will require turning off the blender a few times to smush things down. Philistines who complain about the noise from the blender interrupting their television show do not get any pesto. Remove to a bowl and stir in the cheese and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.

I use this pesto stirred into pasta, in dollops on pizza, mixed into vinaigrettes, and over fish. Stir some into cream cheese for a cracker spread or just eat it with a spoon. Delicious. It freezes very well, too. There will be some oxidation on the top surface but it won’t hurt anything-just stir it in when you are ready to use it. If it bothers you, pour a thin layer of oil over the top before storing the pesto.

By the way, gardening note here–I haven’t planted cilantro in years. I let some go to seed (coriander!) and it spread around my yard and garden by itself and comes up on its own every year. If you love this herb just leave it alone and it’ll come home, wagging its tail behind it.



{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca July 18, 2009 at 1:05 pm

I made this today. I halved the recipe since I didn’t have four cups, and it turned out great! Thanks for the awesome recipe and all of your posts.

Marleen July 28, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Please let me know if cilantro plants need full sun all day partial sun or full sun all afternoon. Thanks for the pesto recipe,it is great.Hope to hear from you so next year I can grow cilantro. Marleen

Tomato Lady July 28, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Hi Marleen–Cilantro does best in full sun. It would probably also be fine with full sun all afternoon if that is what you have. Glad you like the recipe!

Tomato Lady July 28, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Hi Marleen–Cilantro does best in full sun. It would probably also be fine with full sun all afternoon if that is what you have. Glad you like the recipe!

Debbie May 13, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Our cilantro went to seed last summer in our raised bed garden and I left a few of the plants to dry. I live in upper S.C. and was surprised to see some little cilantro plants starting around the end of Oct. ’09. I figured they’d die…nope, they stayed green all winter and as soon as the tempertures were above freezing, they grew even faster – finally, bolting about 3 weeks ago. We made this recipe and it is awesome! Thanks!!!

Tomato Lady May 13, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Debbie–I love how easy it self sows. I keep finding it in more and more spots each year. Glad you liked your pesto! Thanks for the report!

sissy June 2, 2011 at 4:54 pm

love cilantro and lost the recipe fore cilantropesto and rice if you have one thanks

Tomato Lady June 2, 2011 at 8:58 pm
Trista Visser March 2, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Is this a good recipe for freezing? I have a ton of cilantro!

Tomato Lady March 2, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Trista–Yes! Freezes great!

Trista Visser March 2, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Thanks so much for the quick response!!

Patricia June 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm

I tried this and loved it so much, I decided to try some added ingredients. I added 1/4 c parsley and a handful of julienned carrots, and it came out great. You should try it.

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