Cilantro and Pepita Pesto


Total Time:

5 minutes



I’m a homemade pesto kinda gal. What about you guys?

It’s just too easy. And you can make little adjustments here and there to use what you have on hand. For example, no pinenuts? No problem! Throw in some cashews or walnuts and call it a day! No basil? Problem solved – cilantro is delish!

A few months ago my fiance planted some cilantro. And then I killed it. I have a black thumb. And I kill all plants. Doesn’t matter if its basil, rosemary, chives, or cilantro, I kill it all. I mean I just don’t understand. Why can’t the plants water themselves? Sometimes I just forget. And then I go out to cut some herbs and its all shriveled up and dead. Sad but true.

So after I killed the cilantro, he planted some more. And then decided that I would have nothing to do with growing and caring for the herbs and guess what… it’s been like 4 weeks and they are still alive. Weird, huh! I’m only allowed near it when I’m ready to trim some off and use it in my cooking. So I cut off a whole lotta cilantro to make a big batch of cilantro pepita pesto.

It was glorious. I made a bucket load. And used it on my quinoa and my pasta and then slathered it over a flank steak for dinner last night. It rocked my socks off.

I love having these kinds of things on hand in my freezer so I can just pop them out when I’m in a pinch for dinner and it jazzes things up in just a matter of minutes! This particular cilantro pepita pesto is great with quinoa, salmon, steak, chicken, pasta, rice, and farro. Or you could toss it into a salad as a sort of dressing! And it’s as easy as that!

Cilantro and Pepita Pesto

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course sauce
Cuisine Italian, Tex Mex
Servings 1 cup


  • 1 cup packed cilantro
  • 1/4 cup toasted pepitas
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallot
  • 1 tsp chopped jalapeño
  • 1 tsp Green Pepper Sauce Tabasco
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste


  • Add the cilantro, toasted pepitas, shallot, jalapeño and Tabasco into a bowl of a food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds until everything is finely chopped.
  • Slowly stream in the olive oil while the food processor is still on. Season with salt as needed and reserve for future use.
  • You can also free the pesto in an ice cube tray and pop them out as needed.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Bev @ Bev Cooks

    Oh, girl – this is sooooo my kinda pesto. Pepitas are my JAYAM.

  2. Rosellen

    If I substituted basil for the cilantro, and pine nuts for the pepitas, would the proportions be the same?

  3. Ann P.

    I have never tried pepitas!! I gotta get on that, and try this pesto!

  4. Chris

    This is my kind of recipe – I plan to make it this weekend! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. Maura @ my healthy ‘ohana

    I can’t wait to try this!! I love the idea of putting this on flank steak or maybe on pizza!

  6. Jess

    Gaby – I have a black-thumb too. I can’t seem to get herbs to grow…ever. Pesto though, I can do. 😉 This is a fantastic combination, and I bet it’s fantastic with quinoa – great suggestion!

  7. Amanda

    We have more cilantro than we could use in a lifetime… so this is an AWESOME way to utilize it! I can totally make some of this and freeze it for all year round use. Thanks for saving the day!!!

  8. shelly (cookies and cups)

    I love love homemade pesto! And cilantro and I are BFFs, so I am totally making this!

  9. kelley {mountain mama cooks}

    The perfect addition to tacos, sandwiches and a spoon. Love it!

  10. monika

    I LOVE cilantro, and freezing some of this would keep me thinking about summer all winter long…..

  11. Brooke

    I love that you used pepitas instead of nuts. A much friendlier version for my friends who are deathly allergic to tree nuts!

  12. [email protected] and Dishes

    Pesto is so versatile and usually so garlicky ( yum). My husband doesn’t like too much garlic he would be all over this pesto. I love every ingredient in this!

  13. thyme (sarah)

    oooh, a pesto with toasted pepitas. I just bought some…(wait…they are pumpkin seed, right?) If so, I just bought some and would love to make this…

  14. Rocky Mountain Woman

    I collect little packages of pesto in my freezer for those days when I can’t think of anything to make, I’ll make some of this and add it to the collection….

  15. aida mollenkamp

    I love it! I just made a pepita-parsley pesto the other day and it was gone in mere minutes!