I’ve never been a fan of cilantro, let’s just throw that out there before we get started with this recipe.  It is a common belief that the aversion to cilantro is genetically passed down to us from our ancestors, and I know for a fact that my grandmother hates cilantro.  But I have decided to overcome this sensitivity. There are just too many wonderful dishes that include cilantro that I didn’t want to avoid–salsas and salad dressings, enchiladas and falafel wraps…the list goes on and on.

I have been easing myself in to ordering dishes with cilantro and trying to accommodate it into meals that I make at home.  But now it is cilantro season on the farm and I don’t want to miss out on any delicious opportunity, so I decided to dive right in. I decided to make the most flavorful thing that I could think of with my big bunch cilantro.

Cilantro pesto is a creative take on basil pesto, but you can use it in so many ways.  It is delicious on pasta, as a topping for sandwiches, mixed with cottage cheese as a dip for tortilla chips, and even as a saute for chicken or fish.  I made it the traditional way with pasta and it was amazing! It still might not be my favorite flavor, but cilantro is definitely growing on me!

Cilantro Pesto Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes/Serves 4

You can add more serrano chiles if you like things hot. A full teaspoon will give you a nice, warm pesto.


  • 2 cups, packed, of cilantro, large stems removed
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped and seeded serrano chile
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 package of fusili noodles


For the pesto. . .

  1. Boil water for pasta.
  2. KIDS! Wash cilantro and remove stems.
  3. Chop onion and serrano.
  4. Add to a food processor,
  5. KIDS! Pulse the cilantro, almonds, onion, chile, and salt until well blended.
  6. With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream.
  7. Add more oil as needed for your use.

Makes about 1 cup.

The pasta. . .
  1. Add pasta to boiling water, stir with a tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Reduce to simmer, cook until tender (about 10 minutes).
  3. Strain pasta and pour into large bowl.
  4. KIDS! Mix with pesto and top with parmesen cheese.

Serve and enjoy!