Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cilantro Pesto

I love pesto.

Before I started sticking to an $80 per week grocery budget for my family of 5 (that includes all food, toiletries, paper goods and cleaning items), one of my favorite indulgences was to go to a local Italian grocery store.  There I'd buy a crusty loaf of bread, some ripe red tomatoes, a ball of homemade mozzarella, and best of all, a big bunch of basil.

For dinner, I'd make a pot of pasta, topped with chopped tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil pesto.  Or I'd smear the basil pesto on the bread and top with the tomatoes and mozzarella.  Yum.

Unfortunately, my limited budget has curtailed those favorites for now. So I was excited to see at a different grocery store this week that bunches of cilantro were on sale for 50¢.  A great opportunity to make some affordable, yet delicious, cilantro pesto.

Taking all the leaves off of the cilantro stems is a bit tedious, but definitely worth it.  Otherwise, the recipe is pretty much like basil pesto, but with a spicy kick to it.  It's great over 3 cent per box pasta or on homemade whole wheat French bread.

Cilantro Pesto

1 bunch cilantro
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, peeled
pinch of salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Remove leaves from the cilantro stems.  In a food processor place the cilantro leaves and the other ingredients.  Process until smooth.

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Nicole April 8, 2010 at 12:52 PM  

mmmm that sounds delicious thanks for this! my hubs loves cilantro, i can't wait to make this!

Christine April 8, 2010 at 1:52 PM  

Great idea! I am not a cilantro fan but I will try this on some chicken with tortillas. My husband will thank you too since he loves cilantro!

Chats the Comfy Cook April 12, 2010 at 12:53 PM  

Thanks for linking this up to Meatless Mondays.

I don't know why I don't make pesto. It is such a great addition to different foods. We are not cilantro fans but I could go back to your basil pesto. I have to do it. There are so many objectives I have but this is one of the easier ones. I am glad you posted this.

KatiePerk April 13, 2010 at 10:23 AM  

I was excited to see this! We are growing a ton of cilantro in our garden and I bet this would be a delicious use!

Brenda April 13, 2010 at 4:12 PM  

My family loves cilantro, and, despite the fact that I grew up in Mexico, cilantro smells rotten to me. So I can't cook with it. I've been told its genetic, certain people react that way to cilantro.

Julie April 13, 2010 at 9:54 PM  

I have a ton of cilantro growing in my Aero Garden. We love pesto, can't wait to try this!

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace April 14, 2010 at 9:33 PM  

That sounds great. Cilantro is one of my favorite herbs, so I think making into a pesto is brilliant! Thanks for linking to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

Unknown April 15, 2010 at 11:54 AM  

Good idea! I love cilantro too, so I will need to try this.
We too are on a small grocery budget, but I make my own crusty bread and mozzarella cheese( ) , and grow my own basil, so your yummy dinner idea is still doable on a tight budget!
I love your three cent a box pasta! I have 11 cent a jar spaghetti sauce in my pantry, it's a great feeling!

TidyMom April 16, 2010 at 9:36 AM  

Thanks for linking up to I'm Lovin' It! Have a GREAT weekend!

pam April 16, 2010 at 11:56 AM  

I make this, but I don't bother taking the leaves off the stems. The cilantro stems are just as flavorful as the leaves, and if you're going to grind them up in a food processor, it just seems easier to chuck it all in there. But then again, I'm kind of lazy.

April J Harris April 16, 2010 at 12:18 PM  

I love pesto too, but I would never have thought to make it with cilantro. What a good idea! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

Scatteredmom April 16, 2010 at 11:42 PM  

I've never thought of doing that w/ cilantro! Have you thought of growing your own basil? That might be great for making home made pesto. :)

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