Cilantro Pesto Recipe

This cilantro pesto is perfect for pasta, meats, or even mixed in with rice.

I love basil pesto. There are few things in this world that make my taste buds dance the way basil pesto does. So, I wasn’t entirely sure that I even wanted to try a cilantro version.

Clean Eating Cilantro Pesto

You see, I’m a very loyal sort of girl. Once I find something I love, I tend to stick with it for life. But seeing as how this is a food blog and it’s kinda my job to try new things, I gave it a go.

All I can say is, wow. I have a new favorite!! (And that’s saying a lot for this loyal girl!)

This stuff was CRAZY good! It still has all the rich goodness of homemade basil pesto but with a little bit of peppery kick from the cilantro. Amazingly good. I swear! Oh, and I’ll have a recipe coming up shortly that uses it. So go make a batch and stay tuned! I promise you won’t regret it!

How To Make Cilantro Pesto

Pesto couldn’t be easier to make. All you need is a trusty blender or food processor. Pesto can be made with different herbs or leafy greens, depending on the final flavor you want. Everything from basil to kale can be used to make pesto. All it is is blended greens with garlic, often plenty of parmesan (unless you make a dairy-free version), and oil. Blend everything until smooth, and you’ve got a delicious sauce that can be enjoyed on many foods.

Pesto Recipes

Cilantro Pesto Recipe Card

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Clean Eating Cilantro Pesto

Cilantro Pesto

A delicious pesto made with cilantro.
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Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 323.79kcal


  • Blender or food processor


  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup raw walnut pieces
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup grated parmesan (the real stuff, not Kraft)
  • salt to taste


  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. (Depending on your blender, this could take as much as 5 minutes. But it's worth the not-so-long wait!)


Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 323.79kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.21g | Protein: 6.29g | Fat: 33.13g | Saturated Fat: 5.12g | Cholesterol: 7.33mg | Sodium: 130.62mg | Potassium: 124.2mg | Fiber: 1.46g | Sugar: 0.63g | Vitamin A: 431.98IU | Vitamin C: 1.69mg | Calcium: 115.1mg | Iron: 0.84mg

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  1. Yay! A possible use for that cilantro that is getting out of hand while I wait for the roma tomatoes to ripen for pico de gallo!

    After seeing a rescue by The Gentle Barn of baby calves being beat in the head with hammers to get rid of them so their mothers milk can be used to supply our nations milk, I’m re-thinking my milk/cheese usage. I recently saw a post on another site about using cashews instead of parmesan cheese for a creamy texture. Have you ever tried that or anything similar? While I love parmesan in my basil pesto, I also love animals, so if cashews or some other non-animal type thing will work, I’d be up for trying it.

    Also, I’ve recently had a problem with your e-mails going to my junk folder instead of the inbox where they’ve always gone. Did you change something recently that might have caused this and any suggestions on fixing it so I don’t have to worry about missing a recipe?
    Thanks for everything! Love your recipes!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Hi Cheri,

      I haven’t tried cashews in place of cheese. Sounds like in interesting idea, but I doubt you’d get the same flavor. Not that it wouldn’t be good, just different. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

      As for my emails, if you add my email address to your email address book, that should fix the problem. I did have to change email services as the old one was not registering everyone who was signing up. Let me know if you have any further trouble.

  2. I had a bunch of fennel fronds once that I didn’t know what to do with so I made pesto. I might have found the recipe on your blog, not sure. Everyone loved it! Thanks for all your great recipes.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Debbie – I don’t believe I’ve ever done a fennel pesto, but that does sound amazingly good!

  3. I was just wondering, like Cheri, what to do with all this cilantro. I wondered if I could make pesto because I believe that was originally a way to preserve herbs, right? I was checking my email before searching your recipes and there it was! You read my mind!

    I have been using your recipes for about a month and have been able to get my husband to improve his diet some and will keep trying. Thanks for your help!

    Gotta go pick that cilantro and get out the blender!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Mary – Fantastic! I’m not sure about that being a way to preserve herbs. I’ll have to look into that. I know one way to do it is to chop them, and freeze them in olive oil in ice cube trays.

  4. michael o. dunn says:

    Let me tell you—I have this FAVORITE Mexican restaurant that just started using the cilantro pesto….OMG doesn’t BEGIN to describe how quick I fell in love with this stuff…

    Before I order anything else….I ask for the cilantro pesto….it is great with the chips as well as the grilled veggies and grilled chicken….YUM—–O and THEN SOME…!!!!!!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Michael – Ya, it’s crazy good stuff! I may never make the basil version again. I’d be curious to know if my version here measures up to what they serve there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. I love basil pesto, but if there’s anything I enjoy more than basil, it’s cilantro! This would be awesome as a topping to chicken, on quesadillas, or as a condiment for tacos. Yum! Off to the store to buy some cilantro! As always, thank you for sharing your wonderful AND HEALTHY recipes!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jacqui – My pleasure! Cilantro is amazing stuff!

  6. This sounds amazing (mostly because I have been on a BIG pesto binge) but I’m not a huge fan of walnuts. Do you ever make your pesto with any other kind of nuts?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Robin – You can make it with pine nuts as well. Or even cashews.

  7. Made this 2 nights ago and it is very tasty. I served it with grilled chicken and my husband gobbled it up. YUM YUM.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Beth – So glad you both enjoyed it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Ok I love cilantro but am new to the whole fresh herbs. Do I use just the leaves or the leaves and stems all together?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Laura – You can use the stems for this. With some herbs like rosemary, you need to remove them. But not with cilantro.

  9. Brooke Troxclair says:

    This may sound absolutely silly; however, I’m not the first to wonder this… do you cook this sauce? I have never made anything avocado and am determined to add them, along with pomegranates to my diet! I don’t think I can eat them raw. I’m starting to phase myself into a clean eating lifestyle to see if I can get rid of some of my many health problems at 33 years old :\ (again, not alone there either) LOL!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Brooke – I’m confused. There is no avocado in this sauce…

  10. Brooke Troxclair says:

    Sorry! That question was for the avocado pesto Alfredo!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Brooke – Oh! I would say a couple of days at most. The avocado will turn brown and not be very appetizing. It’s best eaten fresh.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Ric – I enjoyed it as it was, but feel free to add some if you prefer!

  11. Tamara Todd says:

    Is there anything I can replace with the nuts because I don’t have any nuts

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tamara – You can try making it without nuts and see how you like it. Maybe add a little extra parmesan.

  12. Just wondering if I can make this pesto sauce, as well as, the tomato sauce and just store them in the fridge? I cook for myself usually so it’s hard to make a full recipe worth of food and eat it all in one sitting. If so, how long would you say they will stay good? Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Bianca – If you won’t eat them within a week or so, I would freeze them. Freezing in ice cube trays is a great way to freeze portions for cooking.