End-of-Season Cilantro Pesto

cilantro pestoLike so many of my recipes, this one begins in the garden. First came an incredible stand of cilantro, the best we’ve ever grown, still going strong in October. Predictions of a frost sent me scrambling to snip and save and give away. I just couldn’t let this gorgeous green go to waste. But I had to find something more to do with what I had harvested than sprinkling a bit onto this dish or that. It occurred to me that I must be able to make it into pesto — after all, nearly anything leafy can be made into pesto. So I started searching. In the end, this concoction of cilantro, red onion and serrano peppers was surprisingly delicious — and so different from the traditional basil-based pesto. Think of this as a spicy spread for your pork, fish or chicken or an add to bring an extra layer of flavor to your quesadillas or tacos. It also freezes beautifully. So make a big batch and save some for later.

Recipe inspired by SimplyRecipes.com

Makes about 1 cup


  • 2 cups, packed, of fresh cilantro, thick stems removed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted almonds, sliced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 small serrano pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or try avocado oil for a lighter texture


  1. Place cilantro, almonds, onion, pepper and salt into a food processor. Process until all is finely chopped and well-mixed.
  2. With the processor running, add oil in a thin stream. Serve room temperature. Or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to a week.