Pesto Improved: Cilantro-Pecan Pesto

by Shawnda on February 11, 2007

in Sandwich, Wraps, & Quesadillas

Cilantro-Pecan Pesto
Some people find the taste of cilantro over-powering and unbearable. Me, I love it in just about everything. The upside is cilantro is strong so a little goes a long way. The downside is a little goes a long way so it typically goes bad before I can use it. I end up throwing more than half of the bunch away each time I buy it.

I often come home inspired after eating out – if I’m really inspired, I’ll try to remake the restaurant’s dish as closely to the original as I can. This time was a little different. I ordered a sandwich at my company deli counter last week and walked away with all my cilantro problems solved. The chicken sandwich came with a cilantro pesto that was not good. However, it did give me an idea on what to do with the extra cilantro sitting in the fridge. I modified my existing recipe for basil pesto:

    2 cups cilantro leaves
    2 garlic cloves
    1/3 cup olive oil, divided
    2 Tbsp pecans, chopped
    2 Tbsp pine nuts
    1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

    Put cilantro, garlic, and 2 Tbsp oil in a food processor and process until a rough paste forms. Add pecans, pine nuts, and cheese, and process until blended, stopping to scrape down sides. With processor running, slowly stream remaining oil through the top; process until smooth. The pesto will keep 5 days in the fridge or a month frozen.

The cilantro-pecan pesto works wonderfully on sandwiches and panini. It was surprisingly smooth. I was thinking the pesto might taste as if I had taken a huge bite out of a bunch of cilantro but this was not the case – the flavors of the pine nuts, pecans, garlic, cheese, and oil all come through.

Turkey & Havarti with Cilantro-Pecan Pesto


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chris February 11, 2007 at 10:26 pm

This is interestingly cool! I actually never thought of using cilantro in much more than my salsa. Thanks for the idea!


2 Lisa (Homesick Texan) February 14, 2007 at 12:19 pm

Yum, one of my favorites! It’s also good with walnuts.


3 foodiebride February 14, 2007 at 2:18 pm

I’ll definitely have to try it with walnuts next time!


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