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Cilantro Pesto Recipe

  • Author: Jen Hansard
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Add some tangy, spicy cilantro pesto to soups, top veggies, or use as a dip or spread. Cilantro is a natural detoxifying herb that pairs well with lime and serrano chiles.


  • ¼ cup raw cashew pieces or halves
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1 serrano chile, seeds and ribs removed, if desired
  • Juice and zest of 2 large limes
  • 3 big bunches cilantro, leaves and tender stems, about 5 cups loosely packed
  • ½ cup neutral flavored oil, such as safflower or avocado oil
  • Sea salt, to taste


  1. Place cashews, garlic cloves, and serrano chile into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse until finely chopped.
  2. Add cilantro and lime zest to the food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
  3. With motor running, add lime juice and oil through the feed hole. Stop and scrape down sides as needed. Once pesto is the consistency of a slightly chunky paste, stop the food processor and add a good pinch of sea salt. Pulse a few times. Taste and add a little more salt, if needed.
  4. Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Can also be frozen for up to 2 months.


  • Not a fan of cilantro? Try swapping it out for a combination of mint and basil instead. Or use parsley.
  • Other nuts can be substituted for the cashews. Two or three Brazil nuts or 1/4 cup macadamia nuts will best mimic the flavor and creamy texture of the cashews, but other tree nuts will also work.
  • Category: Condiments
  • Method: Blending
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: cilantro pesto recipe