A couple of months back, I made the regular basil pesto, and fell in love with the concept. Fresh, fragrant basil, garlic, pepper and cheese. Whats not to like in it?!
But sadly, basil is not regularly available in our vegetable market and I had to always place an order with our vegetable vendor. He would then source it for me in a couple of days. Only on demand, on paying an advance. So pesto would never be a “I crave it and I want it!” type of thing.
So while browsing and learning online (there is a term called as ‘Internet Education’; did you know it? ), I had a smashing discovery of the Cilantro Pesto. Replacing the basil with cilantro, and changing few other measures. Of course, it had a very different taste than the minty basil, but the cheese and garlic brought out a very peppy flavor of the cilantro leaves.
And this pesto is so versatile. We used it as a spread on sandwiches , sautéed sliced mushrooms in it and even rolled it in a salami and roasted it. Yum!
Cilantro Pesto Recipe
- 1 and 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup walnuts, mildly toasted and crushed
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 and 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice/ white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp grated cheese
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated black pepper
Combine cilantro leaves, walnuts, garlic, and black pepper in a grinder and blend into a coarse mixture. Then add olive oil and lemon juice and pulse for another minute. In the end, add salt as per taste, very little will be required, as cheese already has salt in it.
Blend until smooth. Drizzle a few drops of extra virgin olive oil on top.
Intense, crisp pesto ready to be used, in less than 15 minutes.
The pesto easily stays fresh in the refrigerator in an air tight container up to 10 days.
- Add salt only at the end, as the volume of cilantro leaves, walnuts etc reduces after grinding, making it difficult to guess the amount of required salt.
- A mint pesto can be made with the same recipe, substituting cilantro with mint and walnuts with almonds.