Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cilantro-Lemon Pesto

When I get tired of plain old tomato sauce on my pasta, the next stop is always pesto. I love the green stuff - I've made a million variations, including vegan pesto and kalamata olive pesto. There is no end to the possibilities. It is hard to go wrong with herbs, garlic, nuts and cheese (or a cheese substitute) pureed into a creamy sauce.

Pesto is for far more than pasta, my friends. It is wonderful spread on a filet of salmon before baking. You can also toss it with freshly steamed vegetables. It has a number of delicious applications. This pesto features the zesty combination of cilantro and lemon. It has a bit more zing to it than classic basil pesto, so use it sparingly. The flavors are particularly suited to fish, but are wonderful with pasta as well. This time I paired it with my favorite gluten-free pasta, Tinkyada Spirals (aka brown rice fusilli).

To make this pesto dairy-free and vegan, replace the romano cheese with 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast flakes, some extra salt, and a little bit of tofu.


1/3 cup pecorino romano cheese, shredded
2 cups fresh cilantro
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 lemon, juice of
Salt, to taste

Combine ingredients in food processor. Puree until ingredients are fully combined and the pesto has a smooth texture with no significant lumps (may still be just a little gritty). You may add additional olive oil if you like. May be served hot or at room temperature. Leftovers can be frozen in small tupperware containers or ice cube trays and thawed when you're ready to use.


Poet with a Day Job said...

OMG this looks so yummy I wanted to call you up yesterday and say bring the pesta pasta over please!

Happy V Day!

ByTheBay said...

But M, I thought you were a cilantro hater! Have you started batting for the other team?

Poet with a Day Job said...

Although you SAID cilantro, I just kept looking at that delicious picture and it

Mike Eberhart said...

Looks absolutely wonderful, and sounds like it'd taste great too. I am definitely a pesto fan, but have not tried a lemon/cilantro combo. Certainly sounds delicious!