Cooking and Recipes

Walnut Cilantro Pesto

So then, the other day I made some Walnut Cilantro Pesto and I thought I’ll bet this is something y’all would like.  And so I called to invite you over to have some with a little happy hour beverage, but you weren’t home. So, sorry I missed you, but here’s the recipe.

Super super simple.

You will need walnuts, cilantro, Parmesan, olive oil, garlic and salt.  You can add a few other spices if you want, because after all, it is your pesto.


Sean was my food stylist and he added the butter knife to the pesto tableau, which I think is a nice touch.

I always add a drop or two of liquid smoke because I like a subtle smoky flavor to most things.  A dash of cumin and chili powder – the golden spice combo in my opinion – is a nice touch too. Some recipes call for jalapenos, but I say ix nay on the alapenos hay.  Jalapenos are wonderful, I love’em, but I don’t think they belong in Mediterranean influenced dishes.

So then.  Dump about a half cup or so of walnuts into your food processor along with “some” fresh, course-chopped cilantro.  By “some” I mean a handful. And by “handful” I mean some. Or 2/3 cup or so.  Next add maybe 1/4 cup of olive oil.  You can drizzle in more as the food processor is running to get the consistency you want.

After that I grate in some fresh Parmesan, about 1/4 cup. More if you like.  Do not use that sprinkle stuff that comes in can, never ever, anywhere, ever.  I’m not a food snob, but no to that.  Next add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and and 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic, although I sometimes use the powdered stuff.  Then grind it all up until you achieve the consistency of peanut butter, vibrant green peanut butter.


Now, how to serve this stuff?

I don’t really care much for pesto on pasta; I really prefer it just served on crackers or toasted garlic bread with a nice glass of Merlot. I also like to spread it on a fillet of Tilapia, roll it up and bake it – even though it has cheese.  Some food snobs people think you should never ever mix cheese and fish, but hello! Fillet-o-Fish has cheese food product and everyone knows that FOF is a delicacy.  I like to tell the story of how when I was pregnant I craved McD’s Fillet-O-Fish and one time I went through the drive-through and ordered one, ate it, drove around the building and ordered another one. Yes, I know that relates to nothing heretofore but I’m in the mood to share.


And here’s the final dish.

Many thanks to Sean’s Food Styling for making this post possible.

21 thoughts on “Walnut Cilantro Pesto

  1. That sounds amazing. Thanks for posting the recipe – michaelsmommy will love this! We’re big fans of DIY basil/pine nut pesto and this will be a great summertime addition.

  2. Please tell Sean Thanks for his help!!

    We have never owned a food processor…and we just talked yest about buying one! This just might do the trick!

    * * *
    Oh goodness, if you like to cook at all you must get one. Mine is about 18 years old, small, but it’s the best and most used appliance I have.

  3. Oh, so sorry I missed that call!!! That recipe DOES look yummy; and only famous cooks have food stylist assistants, so I guess you have a new role!!


  4. Looks delish – thanks! I’ll give this one a try. I think I hear this pesto calling out for homemade crackers. (1 c. flour, 1/4 water, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 tablespoons oil. Roll it out, cut into shapes or squares, bake!)

    BTW I made your crystallized ginger the other day for a friend of mine and she loved it! LOVED it! And everyone thought I was such a genius for figuring out how to make it. I just smiled and did not tell them how easy it is. Is that bad? 🙂

  5. I’m happy this recipe has no ginger because this friend of mine, well she made the candied ginger, she peeled a lot of ginger without gloves or anything and then she rubbed her eyes. And then she may have cried a bit. And she vowed to never make anything AM posted again. But now that she is seeing the luscious pesto she may change her mind. She’s a fickle one, that friend of mine.
    Excellent food styling Sean.

    * * *
    This (finger quotes) friend (un-finger quotes) of yours has obviously never cooked with jalapenos because rubbing your eyes while cooking with jalapenos is a mistake you only make once. After that you never rub your eyes while cooking for any reason. In fact, after that, you wouldn’t even reach up to catch your eyeball if it were about to fall onto your cutting board. So sorry about your, um, I mean (finger quotes) your friends (un-finger quotes) eyes. 😉

  6. I have those same ramekins 🙂

    And I’m SUPER HAPPY about this recipe because we luvluvluv pesto, but have a hard time finding large clumps of basil or even the seeds to grow our own. Admittedly parmesan cheese is the same price as solid gold, but we can get cilantro and walnuts and this could be a fun supper for a treat. Maybe for when my hubs gets back from a week-long trip? Anyway, can’t wait to try it.

    PS I don’t have a food processor either but you can make pesto in a blender. Also hummous and salsa. Your blender is your friend.

    * * *
    Mmmmm – hummus and salsa are two of my favorite food groups. I have an awesome hummus recipe I should post. And speaking of blenders? Also good for making margaritas. A very useful appliance. 😉

    * * *

    Y’all! edj lives an exotic life teaching in AFRICA where she been served goat eyeballs and other goat stuff which I won’t talk about here. And as if that weren’t dangerous enough, she has TWINS! She writes about her life on her blog, Planet Nomad. It is astonishingly wonderful to read and beautifully written. You should read it.

  7. Ooh, it never occurred to me that I could put pesto on OTHER things, and this variety sounds so yummy!

    HappyGeek made me laugh. I must be a moron because I frequently accidentally touch my eyes after cutting up spicy stuff (sure, I DID wash my hands, but some of those oils still linger). At this point, I just accept it as the price for my stupidity. 😉

  8. Yum! I have relations from Italy and they make a million and one pesto recipes. All of which are my favourite. Putting different nuts in (pine nuts, Walnuts, cashews) is a great way to alter the flavour without changing the basic recipe.

  9. Have been reading about the Flat Belly Diet and think this pesto with walnuts and olive oil might be perfect for that with their MUFAs (mono-unsaturated fatty acids). Didn’t want someone to think I was saying something ugly!! 🙂

  10. Now I have to comment TWICE: I made this last night, and, WOMAN! How long have you been holding out on this recipe on us? It was amazing!

    I’ll have to make it the next time we get invited somewhere, and everyone will think I am SO awesome, but we all will know who the real awesome one is. 😉

  11. That looks like it would be awesome if it weren’t made with devilweed. Ugh.

    BUT almost everyone I know besides me actually likes cilantro, so I will definitely pass this along to them, especially after reading the rave reviews in the comments.

  12. This was way in the bottom of my blog-reading pile — and oh-so-yummy looking! Can’t wait to try that! Oh, my stars, how can Sherri not like cilantro??? Bless her heart…

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