Cilantro Pesto

Pesto is a quick and easy way to add flavor to your foods. It is similar to chimichurri or salsa. Originally pesto is an Italian condiment made from fresh basil leaves, cheese, and pine nuts. This pesto is made with fresh cilantro and pumpkin seeds or pepitas. I find that cilantro deteriorates very quickly in the refrigerator, so this is one way to use it to make it last a bit longer. If you like, you could also substitute some parsley for some or all of the cilantro.

cilantro pesto

Cilantro Pesto with Pumpkin Seeds


    • 2 cups chopped fresh cilantro
    • 2 green onions, chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 or 2 jarred jalapenos, depending on you heat tolerance
    • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped pumpkin seeds
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • salt
    • freshly ground black pepper


Blend all the ingredients, in a food processor or blender. You do not want to process until smooth; it should still have a little coarse texture.

Use it as a sauce for chicken or fish, or drizzle into a fish taco. Also good with scrambled eggs or stirred into cooked pasta or rice.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Karen Sanders says:

    Wow, really good recipe, would never have occurred to me to make pesto with pumpkin seeds and no cheese, but hey, works wonderfully!!!! I did overdo the heat with the jalapenos a little, completely my own fault, and not serious, I do enjoy spicy! I would tone it down a little in future though. Loved this, thank you! made for International Agents of QUEST, South America


    1. threeovens says:

      I am just wondering what future generations of recipe readers are going to think “International Agents of Quest” are! I’m glad you liked the recipe though. Pumpkin seeds are great in a lot of things, even just sprinkled on a salad.


  2. Mary Pat Frick says:

    Another Agent of Quest is on-board as a fan of your recipe. Altho I live in Iceland now, I’m a Texan at heart, come by my fondness for cilantro naturally & love that it can be used to flavor so many things. I admit using less jalapeno, but otherwise made it as written w/o knowing how soon it would be my flavor friend. I was making a So American stew later that same day that needed an injection of flavor & your pesto was the perfect fix. Thx for sharing this recipe w/us.


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