Pesto is so versatile. You can use it on pasta, in soups, on sandwiches, eggs, corn on the cob, bruscetta, etc. etc. etc. It will liven up nearly any dish. And it can be made with any number of ingredients as the star. Of course, traditional basil pesto is always a favourite, but I had a big bunch of cilantro to use up so I decided to turn it into pesto.
Because you really only need a few tablespoons of pesto for most dishes, and because a normal sized batch of pesto produces a lot more than this, I usually pour any extra into ice cube trays and freeze for another day. The portion size of the ice cube tray is perfect for one serving too. I love it when things work out this well!
I’ll include exact amounts in the recipe, but don’t worry about the ratios. Adjust amounts to your taste. If you think it needs more lemon juice, just throw some in and pulse the food processor a few more times. No harm done.
Cilantro Pesto Recipe
2 cups packed fresh cilantro leaves
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup sunflower seeds (or pine nuts)¼ grated Parmesan cheese
1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp each salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp water to taste (You can use more oil here instead if you like, but I don’t like my pesto super oily)
1. Combine cilantro, garlic, sunflower seeds and lemon juice in bowl of food processor or blender. Turn food processor on and slowly add oil and water through feeder tube until it reaches your desired consitency. I like a bit of crunchiness from the sunflower seeds, so I don’t run the machine longer than a few seconds.