I think that cilantro is one of those things that you either love or hate. Perhaps a few of you lie in the gray area in between but most I know feel quite strongly about this fresh herb. If you read Whipped often, you have probably noticed that I am in the LOVE category. To me, cilantro is like a breath of fresh air in your dish.

I am nervous to admit this because I suppose it is really pretty weird. I love cilantro so much that sometimes, when I am in the grocery store, I pluck a leaf from the bunch (even when I am not buying it) and put it on my tongue. I don’t even chew it, I just walk the aisles filling my cart with a leaf of cilantro on my tongue, its aroma wafting up in through the back door of my nose.

Considering my over-the-top love for this fragrant herb, it is a surprise I hadn’t made Cilantro Pesto before. Like traditional basil pesto, you can make a huge batch and then freeze it in ice cube trays for later use. If you like experimenting, try walnuts instead of pine nuts, add a little fresh mint or squeeze in some lime juice. Next time, I might even leave the nuts out all together to further highlight the cilantro

What to do with this pesto? You can do almost anything you do with regular pesto.
- marinate chicken and grill it.
- toss it with noodles, especially good on Asian noodles
- drizzle it over fresh tomatoes
- add some lime juice and a little extra olive oil and use as salad dressing.

Cilantro Pesto
1 large clove garlic
1 small peeled shallot
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 large bunch cilantro (2 cups loosely cup)
2 T sherry vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 t salt

Put garlic and shallot in a blender or food processor and chop. Add pine nuts, clean cilantro leaves and vinegar and process until very fine. While food processor is on, slowly add olive oil and process until smooth. Add salt to taste. Keep in an air tight container in the fridge for a week or freeze in ice cube trays for later use.

Other Recipes with Cilantro:
Asian Rotisserie Chicken Salad with Cilantro Dressing
Grilled Chicken, Mango & Jicama Salad with Tequila-Lime Vinaigrette
Thai Beef Salad
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Authentic Mexican Guacamole

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11 Responses to “Refreshing Cilantro Pesto”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Put me in the LOVE column! Cilantro pesto – What a fabulous idea! I had a pecan pesto on a burger this weekend that pretty much “knocked my socks off” so I might just be crushin’ on pesto in general right now :)

  2. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink Says:

    I too am in the love category, but I haven’t quite reached the leaf-on-tongue-while-in-the-market level. That said, I’m willing to give it a try. : ) In the meantime, I think I’ll try this pesto, which sounds lovely.

  3. Sandie Says:

    Three things I’ll admit:

    (1) I add cilantro to more dishes than I probably should.
    (2) I often breath in the scent of cilantro while I’m grocery (or farmers’ market) shopping, but have yet to take an actual nibble while going on my merry way.
    (3) Cannot believe I’m not familiar with cilantro pesto. This sounds delicious—goodbye traditional pesto, hello Whipped version!

  4. Michelle Says:

    Definately in the love category and yes, I am also a nibbler of cilantro in the grocery store! I am looking up cilantro pesto recipies – this looks like a good one.

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  7. hari Says:

    In addition this recipe has so much value in the field of chelation therapy. Cilantro is natural chelator, meaning it will flush out all the heavy metal toxins in the body and gives vibrant life. I am so glad that I came across this recipe. I had so many health problems previously, and all of them just went away with use of cilantro for few days. How is that!!

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