Can You Use Cilantro In Pesto? – A Flavorful Twist on Classic Italian Sauce

Can You Use Cilantro In Pesto? – A Flavorful Twist on Classic Italian Sauce

Cilantro, also known as coriander or Mexican parsley, is a popular herb used in many cuisines. While it’s not traditionally used in classic Italian pesto, some modern recipes and variations do incorporate cilantro for added freshness and depth of flavor. If you decide to use cilantro in your pesto, start with a small amount (about 1 tablespoon) and adjust to taste, as its strong flavor can overpower the other ingredients.

I still remember the day I stumbled upon the game-changing combination of cilantro and pesto.

It was like a flavor bomb had gone off in my kitchen, and suddenly, the world of Italian sauces was forever transformed.

As someone who’s always on the hunt for innovative ways to spice up classic recipes, I’m excited to share with you why I think cilantro can be a total game-changer when it comes to pesto.

Not only does its fresh, bright flavor beautifully complement the richness of basil, but it’s also ridiculously easy to find and budget-friendly compared to other herbs like parsley or dill.

And let’s not forget about the versatility – this herb pairs incredibly well with everything from meats to veggies, making it a must-have addition to your pantry.

In this post, we’ll dive into the benefits of using cilantro in pesto, plus provide some actionable tips and case studies to help you get started.

The Case for Cilantro in Pesto

As a self-proclaimed pesto aficionado, I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of shaking things up (or should I say, stirring things up?) with cilantro.

Yes, you read that right – cilantro in pesto!

While some might raise an eyebrow at this unconventional combination, I’m here to make the case for why cilantro is a game-changer in this classic Italian sauce.

First and foremost, cilantro brings a fresh, bright flavor to the table that perfectly complements basil’s richness.

Think of it as a delightful little wake-up call for your taste buds!

The pungency of cilantro cuts through the creaminess of the garlic and olive oil, creating a beautiful harmony of flavors.

And let’s not forget, basil is already a pretty potent herb – adding cilantro to the mix takes things to the next level.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But isn’t cilantro just so…

Mexican?” Ah, yes!

That’s true, but don’t let that fool you.

Cilantro has its roots in Mediterranean cuisine too (pun intended).

In fact, it’s a staple herb in many Middle Eastern and North African dishes.

And when paired with the bold flavors of Italy, it creates a match made in heaven.

But what about the availability and affordability of cilantro?

Won’t I need to trek out to some exotic spice market or spend an arm and a leg on artisanal cilantro at my local grocery store?

Fear not, dear reader!

Cilantro is surprisingly easy to find – most supermarkets carry it in their produce section.

And as for the cost, let’s put things into perspective: you can get a bunch of fresh cilantro for a fraction of what you’d pay for, say, parsley or dill.

Finally, let’s talk about versatility.

Cilantro pairs surprisingly well with a wide range of ingredients – from meats like chicken and pork to vegetables like bell peppers and zucchini.

Want to add some excitement to your pasta dish?

Try tossing in some toasted pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, and a sprinkle of cilantro.


Instant flavor bomb.

So there you have it – the case for using cilantro in pesto.

It’s not just a quirky twist; it’s a bold move that will take your sauce game to new heights.

And who knows?

You might just find yourself falling head over heels in love with this unique flavor combination.

(But don’t worry, I won’t judge you if you stick with the classic basil-only approach – I promise it’ll still be delicious!)

Tips for Incorporating Cilantro into Your Pesto: A Flavorful Twist on Classic Italian Sauce

Are you tired of the same old basil pesto recipe?

Well, I’ve got some exciting news for you – cilantro can be a game-changer in your pesto game!

That’s right, the same herb that gives Mexican and Indian cuisine its distinctive flavor can add a bold twist to your classic Italian sauce.

How-To: Adding Cilantro to Your Pesto Recipe

When it comes to incorporating cilantro into your pesto, I recommend starting with a small amount (1/4 cup) and adjusting to taste.

You can combine the cilantro with some garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil for a bold flavor that’s perfect for grilled meats or as a dip.

Here are some specific tips to keep in mind:

  • Start with a small amount: Don’t be afraid to start with a smaller amount of cilantro and adjust to taste. You can always add more, but it’s harder to remove the flavor once it’s been added.
  • Combine with garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil: These ingredients will help bring out the bright, citrusy flavor of the cilantro. Trust me, it’s a winning combination!
  • Experiment with different types of cilantro: Did you know that there are different varieties of cilantro? Mexican, Thai, and regular old American cilantro all have slightly different flavors. Feel free to experiment and find the one that works best for you.

Case Studies: Examples of Successful Cilantro-Pesto Pairings

Now that we’ve covered the basics of how to make cilantro pesto, let’s talk about some delicious ways to use it.

Here are a few case studies to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Grilled chicken or fish with roasted vegetables: This is a great way to add some flavor and nutrition to your grilled meats or fish. Simply brush the cilantro pesto on during the last few minutes of cooking, and serve with a side of roasted veggies.
  • Pasta dishes with sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese: This is a unique twist on classic pasta dishes. The sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes pairs perfectly with the tanginess of the goat cheese and the bold flavor of the cilantro pesto.
  • Veggie-packed wraps for a quick and easy lunch: This is a great way to add some excitement to your lunch routine. Simply spread some cilantro pesto on a wrap, add some roasted veggies and hummus, and roll it up for a delicious and healthy meal.

There you have it – the lowdown on using cilantro in your pesto recipe.

With these tips and case studies, I’m confident that you’ll be well on your way to creating some amazing dishes that will impress your friends and family.

So go ahead, give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Final Thoughts

As I wrap up this post on using cilantro in pesto, I’m reminded of the first time I tried it – and how it instantly became my go-to twist on classic Italian sauce.

The freshness and brightness it adds to dishes is unparalleled, and its affordability and versatility only make it more appealing.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a culinary newbie, incorporating cilantro into your pesto game can elevate your cooking to the next level.

So don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different types of cilantro – I promise you won’t regret it!

With this flavorful twist on classic Italian sauce, the possibilities are endless.

Peter Kirsch

Peter is an avid gardener and herbalist. He loves learning about the healing and medicinal properties of herbs and enjoys writing about them. He’s been passionate about herbs since he was a child and has learned a lot about them over the years. He’s written several articles for various publications, all about herbs and their uses. He’s also spoken at several conferences and workshops about the topic.

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