Cilantro Pesto is a Southwestern twist on the traditional Italian pesto sauce – adding in cilantro, Serrano pepper, lime juice and sugar.
As with so many of my recipes, this Cilantro Pesto was born out of a desire to use up an ingredient leftover from making another dish. I had purchased more cilantro than I needed to make my Mexican Chicken, Black Beans and Rice, so I decided to make a pesto sauce with it. To the basic pesto ingredients of Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil, I added the cilantro, a Serrano pepper, lime juice and a pinch of sugar. It turned out great! I then created my Pesto Chicken with Black Beans dish (in my cookbook Fresh Tastes).
- Yield: Around 2/3 cup 1x
- 1 large bunch cilantro, large stem ends removed
- 1 (2-inch) Serrano pepper, seeded (can leave some seeds for more spice)*
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 medium to large garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 1/2 to 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- pinch sugar
- kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until well mixed. Cover and refrigerate until using.
*Can substitute Jalapeno pepper