Cilantro Peanut Pesto


This is my all-time favorite pesto. No lies, I plant cilantro just for this event.  In fact, in order to ensure an uninterrupted supply of cilantro all summer long I sow seeds every other week.

Make this pesto when the herb garden needs trimming as it uses plenty of parsley, chive, and basil too. I call this a pesto but I do not use any cheese. I rarely use cheese when making pesto but prefer to let the nuts and oils create richness.

spring rolls with cod, cilantro pesto, pickled turnips, sesame rice noodles, napa cabbage slaw, carrots and peanuts

This pesto is bright and flavorful and reminiscent of my favorite Thai herb combination.  The flavor is so complex and addicting that my friends will keep eating it trying to guess all of the ingredients! Obviously the cilantro is important. The stems are tender and can be added to the mix. Use only the leaves of the parsley because the stems are not as tender. Choose strong basil like Thai basil, cinnamon basil or sweet basil; avoid delicate flavors like lemon basil because they will get lost in the mix. The same with mint choose something potent. I highly recommend adding the fish sauce but it is easily left out.

Use this tasty spread on sandwiches, pasta, spring rolls, chicken, and tacos. Add a spoonful to soy for dumpling sauce or to yogurt for chip dip. Eat with a spoon.

Cilantro Peanut Pesto

  • 3c cilantro
  • 1c parsley
  • 1c basil
  • 1c mint
  • 1/2c chive or green onions
  • 1c peanuts (or almonds)
  • 4  cloves garlic
  • ½” fresh ginger root
  • 2T tamari or soy
  • 1T lime juice
  • 1/2c or more oil (coconut, olive, peanut)

Below are ingredients that I recommend adding according to your tolerance and liking.

  • Black Pepper
  • 1 Green or red chile pepper
  • 1/2t Fish sauce
  • 1/4t Sesame oil
  • 1T honey

Combine all the ingredients except the oil into a food processor. Pulse until combined. Next, as the food processor is running, begin to add the oil. Slowly drizzle the oil into the mix until the pesto begins to turn thick and emulsify.  Continue adding oil to achieve desired consistency.

Yield 3- 1/2pint jars.  Store pesto in the fridge or freezer