Cilantro is a very polarizing herb – people either love it or they hate it. I love it… and with everything! In salsa, in a salad, on chicken or fish, in spring rolls… you name it, I will put cilantro on it.
Cilantro looks like parsley, but it has a much more distinctive taste. It also has a wide variety of nutritional benefits. It is particularly high in immune-boosting vitamins A and C and is a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that may help prevent macular degeneration. It’s also full of fiber, important for lowering cholesterol and general good health.
So, when I found a cilantro-based pesto at my local health food store recently, I had to try it. It did not disappoint. I ate it with crackers, pasta and even dipped my veggies in it. I concocted my own pesto at home and I enjoyed it even more. Here is the recipe I used. Keep in mind that you can substitute pine nuts, cashews or walnuts for the almonds.
3 cups cilantro, large stems removed
1/2 cup blanched almonds, chopped
2 Tbsp shallots, diced
1 jalapeno pepper diced (if you want a milder taste, you can omit this)
2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
About 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
In a food processor or blender, pulse together cilantro, almonds, shallot, jalapeno, lemon zest, and salt. With food processor running, add 1/4 cup olive oil in a slow, steady stream. If pesto seems a little too thick for your taste, add cold water, 1 Tbsp at a time, until you get the consistency you like. Enjoy as a sauce, dip, on salad, or any other way you like.
Photo from here, with thanks.