Cilantro Pesto with Pepitas and Queso Fresco

Cilantro Pest with Queso Fresco and Pepitas
Normally thought of and made with basil, cilantro pesto with pepitas and queso fresco is another option and way to jazz up any dish you are making…easy, quick, beautiful and so delish!!

“It tastes like soap,” I hear people say about cilantro …WHAT THE HELL??  I think this must be some sort of genetic oversight or something.  To me, this beautiful herb is fresh and almost citrus-like.  I usually have a bunch in my refrigerator to jazz up this or that.  Recently, I had a bunch and had no plans for it, so pesto, I thought, let’s make pesto.  Traditionally, pesto is made with basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil, (check out this beautiful post from Cookie and Kate for more on that https://cookieandkate.com/2017/how-to-make-basil-pesto/).  SO…..I used that as my guide and used cilantro, pepitas, queso fresco, garlic and olive oil….same ratio and components, just different flavors.  This is good friends, I used part of it for a hot date dinner that looks like this….

shrimp, chorizo and grits with cilantro pesto
The inspiration…shrimp and grits, the end product…shrimp, chorizo and grits with cilantro pesto…how beautiful is this?? It tasted amazing…

I wasn’t sure how the grits would look with the pesto mixed in, but after a small trial, the color was gorgeous and the flavors were on point.  Real simple to make…here we go..

Raw ingredients including fresh cilantro, garlic and pepitas/almonds..
Raw ingredients including fresh cilantro, garlic and pepitas/almonds..a food processor will do all of the work for you..
All ingredients (cilantro, nuts/seeds, garlic and cheese) will go into the food processor and extra virgin olive oil will be streamed in while the processor is running until a desirable consistency is achieved...
All ingredients (cilantro, nuts/seeds, garlic and cheese) will go into the food processor and extra virgin olive oil will be streamed in while the processor is running until a desirable consistency is achieved…

Other ideas…stir this into mayo for a fantastic, herby aoli for sandwiches or to dip fries in (http://www.hotdatedinner.com/crispy-baked-sweet-potato-fries/)….OR use it as a marinade for chicken, chops or shrimp a few hours before the grill….OR stir into pasta or rice.  This is a great way to use up cilantro or just a really delicious way to use cilantro…

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Cilantro Pesto with Pepitas and Queso Fresco

Cilantro Pest with Queso Fresco and Pepitas

Cilantro perfection…

  • Author: Emily
  • Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Total Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 T slivered almonds
2 T pepitas
1 1/2 cups loosley packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsly leaves
1/4 cup evoo
1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled
Salt and frehsly ground pepper

Instructions

In a food processor, finely chop the almonds, pepitas and garlic. Scrape down the sides of the bol. Add the ciantro and parsley adn process until finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add the oil to create a smooth puree. Add the queso fresco and pulse until evenly incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Enjoy!!