The other day I bought some organic cilantro from one of my favorite places to shop – Annye’s Whole Foods in Nantucket. As often happens for me, especially in summer, buying it was merely an impulse purchase. Bottom line, it just looked too good to pass up.
With no recipe in mind, I wasn’t sure what to do with it once got home, but certainly wasn’t going to let it go to waste especially knowing how much it cost!
After organizing what was already in the fridge and thinking about our upcoming meal possibilities, it suddenly dawned on me that I wanted to make cilantro pesto. Not having thought about this possibility while at the store, the trouble was I had only purchased one of the ingredients for the pesto.
Scrounging through the kitchen cabinets, I discovered I could make it work with what was there and thankfully avoided another trip to the store. In doing so though, I had to give up my vision of making the pesto with pine nuts and instead resigned to make it with a new nut – one that I don’t usually have in the cupboard or use to make pesto – pistachios.
In the end, the pesto was a surprisingly delicious discovery with a mouth-watering depth of flavor. Being on vacation at the time, my motivation in making the pesto was to spread it on sandwiches (gluten free wraps actually) for lunch at the beach. But I also really enjoy pesto on navy beans, chicken, fish, steak, veggies and gluten free pasta.
Not only does pesto have versatile applications, but it’s also an excellent way to use up any kind of greens such as spinach, swiss chard, collard greens or herbs from your garden. Extra bonus! In addition, pesto is a fabulous way get more dark leafy greens into your diet without having to chew through a bowl of steamed leaves.
When I make pesto, it’s always without cheese. Trust me here. Really, no cheese is needed. Using nuts or seeds gives it the proper thickness without having to add cheese. For those of us with lactose intolerance or sensitivity to whey or casein, finding delicious recipes without cheese is always an exciting and rewarding revelation!
What’s your favorite way to make pesto?
Cilantro Pistachio Pesto
1 cup unsalted raw pistachios
2 bunches fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 garlic clove peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Wash and dry cilantro (you don’t need to trim off stems). Place pistachios and garlic in bowl of food processor. Pulse until loosely ground, so texture resembles gravel. Add cilantro and pulse again so that cilantro evenly combines with nut mixture. Pour in lemon juice and pulse again. Then, slowly pour in the olive oil in a steady stream while the motor is running. Add salt and pepper to taste. yum!
Makes about 1 1/2 cups pesto