Cilantro Pesto & Cilantro Yogurt Sauce


Ahhhh, cilantro. Some people love it (me included) and some people hate it. These recipes aren’t for those of you in the “I-hate-cilantro” camp  – but for those of you who are just as nuts about cilantro as I am, these sauces will make great additions to your recipe collection!




I had cilantro pesto on the brain last week after my friend Maddie brought it up at lunch. I realized that I hadn’t made it in quite awhile, and all of a sudden, I wanted cilantro EVERYTHING. So I whipped up a batch of this pesto and some yogurt sauce, and proceeded to slather it all over everything I ate.




It was pretty much awesome.




Like any pesto, you can use this on a variety of foods. I like to use it in salad dressings, quesadillas, pastas, to top my tacos, or as a marinade for chicken and pork. The yogurt sauce makes an ahhhhmazing marinade as well, and was a super-duper sauce for a steak taco. Get creative!




I have also officially hopped on the greek yogurt train. I’m pretty sure I’m the last person on the planet to discover how cool this stuff is, but WHAT!! It’s my new obsession. I got a tub of the plain stuff from Chobani and have used it in place of sour cream for sauces, mashed potatoes, and potato salad. Mind-blowing. And packed full of protein, which means YAY. I’m going to pick up some vanilla later and give a few frozen yogurts a whirl. Should be exciting. Stay tuned. In the meantime, here is some cilantro-themed sauce-y goodness.




Cilantro Pesto & Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
YIELD: 2 cups cilantro pesto, 1 cup cilantro yogurt sauce
For the Cilantro Pesto:
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 3 cups fresh cilantro
  • ⅔ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 4 cloves garlic (3 if they’re large)
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil (you probably won’t need it all – I generally use about ¼ cup or so)
  • salt and pepper to taste
For the Cilantro Yogurt Sauce:
  • ½ cup cilantro pesto
  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt
For the Cilantro Pesto:
  1. Heat a skillet over high heat and lightly toast pine nuts (about 1 minute in the pan, stirring them constantly so that all sides get a bit of color). Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes or so.
  2. In a food processor, combine toasted pine nuts, cilantro, garlic, salt & pepper, and parmesan and pulse to give it a rough chop.
  3. With the food processor running, stream in olive oil a tablespoon at a time until pesto has come together. You may not need all of the olive oil – stream it in until your pesto is the consistency you want, and feel free to add additional oil if you want a thinner sauce!
  4. Serve immediately or keep in the fridge for up to a week.
For the Cilantro Yogurt Sauce:
  1. Combine pesto and yogurt and mix well. That’s it! Enjoy.




  1. irene from hawaii says

    The cilantro yogurt sauce is about to become my go-to salad dressing! Love cilantro and love greek yogurt! I think the only Mexican restaurant within 20 miles of me uses a thinner version of this for their taco salad dressing, and I sometimes crave it in my dreams, lol.

    • Jessie says

      Thanks! I’ve started putting this pesto and yogurt sauce on everything – I like it on chicken or fish, but I also loooooove the yogurt sauce over a good chicken chopped salad with lots of veggies.

  2. Renee says

    I just made the cilantro yogurt sauce, and it was fantastic! My husband loved it. Definitely exactly what I was craving. Thanks so much!

    • Renee says

      It won’t let me edit my comment, but I just wanted to add that I left out the parmesan and used cashews instead of pine nuts, only because it’s late here and I was out of both. I topped oven-blackened tilapia with this delicious sauce. I can’t wait to try the pesto by itself when I’ve got some pine nuts and parmesan on hand.

      • Jessie says

        Thanks for letting me know how it turned out! I’m glad you liked it – I love the idea of using cashews! I’m going to have to try that next time I make fish :)

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