Cilantro pesto: Fresh cilantro whipped into pesto with a toasted almonds, cotija cheese and garlic. Try it on chicken or vegetables!

Cilantro Pesto

At one point in my life cilantro was like red wine.

Okay, so it was and it wasn’t. For me they both were intense and at first I didn’t like either of them at all. Then after a few sips and a certain Pico recipe I realized I could get use to them. On the reals, cilantro tasted a lot like dish soap. ACK… I was never going to be a fan, ever!! And if I was going to eat it, even a sprinkle of it… then it had to be chopped up to smithereens. Dramatic? Maybe, but I could only handle so much… in small doses {I mean it tasted like dish soap you guys!}.

I really wanted to like cilantro. SO badly that I kept making myself eat it. How can I have a food blog and not like cilantro? It’s like a baker not liking sugar. Then after a few attempts I started to notice that I was actually not minding the flavor of cilantro… especially in pico de gallo and in marinades. Then my “like” progressed to more of an obsession… it definitely doesn’t taste like soap to me anymore.

cilantro pile

I’m not gonna count how many recipes I have on here that call for a “handful of fresh cilantro” because I’m sure there’s a bunch. I’m just glad I can cross this off of my “to make list”… but with saying that I now have 100+ recipes brewing in this brain of mine of different ways in which I can consume this easy cilantro pesto.

Recipe one… will be tomorrow 🙂

pesto stuff

What I really like about this pesto is that it doesn’t call for basil. Ha-ha… I know why would it? But what I mean is that when making a basil pesto you need A LOT of basil and well, unless you grow it, you’ll be spending mucho dinero. Cilantro is inexpensive at under 2 dollars a bunch, so making cilantro pesto is a whole heck of a lot cheaper.


Throw in about 2-1/2 ounces of blanched, slivered almonds into a dry pan.


Toast over medium heat until the almonds start to toast and smell nutty and you’ll notice they are turning a little golden.

remove almonds to cool

Once you start to smell the amazing aroma and you’ve snagged a few of those warm toasty nuts, transfer them to a small dish and set aside.

trimmin cilantro

Wash and pat dry a couple bunches of fresh cilantro. Then remove the top leafy parts, I used a knife but you could use your hands and just tear off the tops. A little stem is okay.


Throw the smashed clove of garlic…

add in the toasted almonds

…and add the cooled nuts into the bowl of your food processor.


Pulse it until the nuts break up a little bit. BREAAAAATHE this in… oh-muh-lord it’s a delicious smell.

stuff it

Throw in all of the cilantro tops.

squeeze of lime

Squeeze in the lime.


Then add in the cotija cheese or parmesan if you can’t find cotija.


Lastly season with kosher salt and replace the lid.


Turn that beast of a thing on until it’s all ground up and looks like this ^.

olive oil

With the food processor still running, slowly drizzle in a half cup of olive oil.



Cilantro Pesto

I promise you, cilantro pesto isn’t as cilantro-y as you would think. It’s a little cilantro-y but the toasted almonds, the garlic and the cheese really balances out the flavors. I bet this cilantro pest will have you eating it by the spoonfuls like I wanted to. I just couldn’t because I had this recipe I HAD to share with you.

Until tomorrow, feast your eyes on some green…

Enjoy! And if you give this Cilantro Pesto recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!

Cilantro Pesto 00

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 

Homemade Cilantro Pesto
Yield: 1 cup

Homemade Cilantro Pesto

Fresh cilantro whipped into pesto with a little toasted almonds, cotija cheese and garlic. Perfect as a spread on toasted bread rounds or as topping for fish, chicken, steak. The options are endless.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes


  • 2 large bunches fresh cilantro, washed and patted dry
  • 2-1/2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) blanched, slivered almonds
  • 3 tablespoons cotija cheese (or Parmesan)
  • 1 large garlic clove, smashed and peeled
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • juice of 1 whole lime
  • 1/2 cup olive oil


  1. In a small skillet add the almonds and toast until golden and fragrant over medium heat. Remove to a clean dish to cool.
  2. In the bowl of your food processor add in a clove of garlic and the cooled, toasted almonds and pulse until coarsely chopped.
  3. Add in the tops of the two bunches of cilantro, the cotija cheese, salt and the juice of a medium sized lime.
  4. Pulse until coarsely ground. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.
  5. Remove and refrigerate until ready to use.
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