This easy cilantro pesto is perfect for topping tacos, fish, chicken, and more!
I love a good ol’ basil pesto as much as the next gal, but when spring and summer produce is in full swing I love to mix it up and make pesto out of just about everything.
And this cilantro pesto? It’s almost always summer pesto priority number ONE.
While pine nuts are a traditional addition to classic pesto, my version is nut-free. You can certainly add nuts if you like here – the recipe notes will walk you through it – but I honestly don’t miss the flavor at all.
Plus, a simpler ingredient list means the cilantro can really shine through.
Like any pesto, you can use this in a variety of ways – as a sauce on pasta, a topping for grilled chicken or fish, as part of a dressing or marinade, you name it!
An easy nut-free cilantro pesto perfect for summer.
- Yield: Makes about 1 cup
- 3 cups fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (you may not need it all – I generally use about 1/4 cup or so)
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a food processor, combine cilantro, parmesan, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse to give everything a rough chop.
- 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!
- Serve immediately or keep in the fridge for up to a week.
If you’d like to include nuts in your pesto, add 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts, pistachios, or walnuts.
This pesto freezes well. Freeze it in airtight containers (I like small mason jars) or in ice cube trays and then transfer the ice cubes to airtight containers for freezer storage.
Use this pesto on pasta, chicken, fish, salads, you name it!
This is the basic pesto formula I use for just about everything! Swap the cilantro for basil, parsley, pea shoots, assorted herbs, kale, arugula, or garlic scapes.
Strict vegetarians can look for parmesan cheese made without animal rennet.
How to Use Your Cilantro Pesto: