Cilantro Pesto

I have to admit, I’m not sure I trust people who don’t like cilantro. How does one not like the taste of a summer day dancing across their tongue? I love cilantro. My philosophy is: if some cilantro is good, then more cilantro is better. Kind of like garlic!

I hadn’t had this recipe in almost a year, until I decided to pull it out last night to go with some broiled salmon. The last time I made anything with a lot of cilantro, actually a cilantro cream sauce to go over enchiladas, I had a food reaction. At the time I thought I was reacting to the cilantro, and I may have been. Who knows for sure? It was during a time in late 2006 that everything I ate seemed to cause a reaction of some sort. So I swore off cilantro, and haven’t touched it since.

Until last night.

Omigosh, it was good! Bright and green and tangy and a little spicy from all the garlic (see above), it was a perfect compliment to the beautiful sockeye salmon we had splurged on. Not that the salmon isn’t good all by itself… And I’m happy to report that there was no reaction this time, in spite of the fact that it was a (mostly) raw sauce (my digestive system definitely prefers cooked to raw anything), and that I ate much more than I should have.

Cilantro is back, baby!

Cilantro Pesto

1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds, unsalted
2 cups fresh cilantro leaves and stems
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine pumpkin seeds, cilantro, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. Process in pulses until minced. Turn food processor to on, and slowly pour in the olive oil, until you reach your desired consistency. More olive oil will produce a smoother, thinner sauce; less oil will leave a thicker, chunkier sauce. Stir in lemon or lime juice. Serve at room temperature. If there is any left, store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Li’s note: I used roasted, unsalted pumpkin seeds because that’s what I had on hand, and I really have a hard time digesting raw seeds. You can use what you like. I have tossed this sauce with pasta, or with brown rice, or served it over fish, chicken (not anymore), or vegetables. It’s also great as a chip dip or sandwich spread. This recipe doubles well, and I imagine would keep for up to a week in the fridge, but I always seem to run out after a day or two.

About Li

A writer, runner, and Gluten-Free Zealot, I've been helping others navigate the gluten-free lifestyle for many years. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and when you're gluten-free, it's even better!
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