Beautifully fragrant cilantro basil pesto! This easy pesto recipe comes together in 5 minutes and takes meals to a whole new level! Use this homemade pesto by tossing into pasta noodles, as a spread, and in salads.
Pesto with cilantro and basil
This cilantro basil pesto has versatile flavors and is similar to cilantro pesto and kale basil pesto, just with a few fresh greens swapped around:-). This simple recipe uses a food process and a basic ingredients you may already have in your fridge plus fresh herb leaves of cilantro and basil! We like to add cheese in our pesto, but feel free use the alternative listed in the recipe for a vegan version.
Ingredients: fresh cilantro and basil leaves
- Cilantro leaves and stem. Cilantro, also known as Coriander, is an herb that stands up to spicy foods and is a key ingredient in Latin American and Asian cooking. Both the sprigs and stems can be wonderful to add to recipes.
- Basil leaves and stem. Basil is mainly used in Mediterranean and Italian dishes, but also pairs beautifully with cilantro. It has a slight licoricelike aroma and peppery taste. Since there is quite a variety of basil to choose from, we recommend using either Genovese Basil, Thai Sweet Basil, Lime Basil or Lemon Basil for making cilantro basil pesto.
- extra virgin olive oil – this is liquid that holds it all together into to use as a sauce, spread or dip.
- walnuts or slivered almonds – this gives pesto a bit of crunch and earthy notes.
- Parmesan cheese – use shredded or grated so it blends well and a fresh brand. You can also substitute it for another ¼ nuts to create a vegan cilantro basil pesto.
- garlic – brings out loads of flavor and adds loads of nutrition such as antiviral properties and antioxidants.
- salt and black pepper – we like to use pink Himalayan salt in almost everything for its natural minerals and nutrients.
- fresh lemon juice – use 1 lemon, which is about 2 tablespoons or 1 fluid ounce.
How to make this cilantro basil pesto recipe
Using a food processor, add the cilantro with stems, basil leaves and stems, olive oil, nuts, cheese, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Blend until it becomes almost smooth.
Taste it and if it is slightly bitter add a bit more salt to taste. See notes in the frequently asked questions below on adjusting the taste. This pesto will last 1 week in the refrigerator in a sealed container or jar.
Where to use cilantro and basil pesto
Cilantro and basil pesto is so good in many cuisines and especially when used tossed in pasta or over meat it intensifies the flavors. It pairs well with chicken, fish, and many vegetables, including tomatoes, broccoli, beets, and cucumbers. Use a basil cilantro pesto in any of these recipes:
- Use it in Lemony Basil Pesto Pasta.
- Mix in with a Cucumber Tomato Salad.
- Top it on Cod Fish.
- Use it as a condiment over this Easy Chicken Breast Recipe.
- Toss it into a Healthy Mac ‘n’ Cheese or Broccoli Pasta dish.
- Top any pizza recipe or our Avocado Crust Pizza with this cilantro basil pesto.
- Dab a few tablespoons over Mexican Stuffed Peppers.
- Stir it into Roasted Cauliflower Red Pepper Soup or Tomato Basil Soup.
- Spread it over Sweet Potato Toast or a regular slice of bread.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can substitute cilantro or basil for other leafy greens such as kale, spinach, chard, kale, arugula, or watercress. Herbs that can be substituted are mint, tarragon, and sage, but parsley is too close the same oil as basil and might be overpowering. Mint is a member of the basil family, so it can be used as an alternative for basil. Any alterations in herbs with change the flavor.
Sometimes pesto can have a slight bitter flavor based on the plant but this can easily be fixed. Try adding a bit more salt and a sprinkle of sugar or citrus juice until it goes away.
I highly recommend using only fresh basil and cilantro for making pesto. It absorbs the oils and natural moisture to create a wonderfully fragrant condiment.
Store this homemade cilantro basil pesto in a sealed jar or container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Try our other pesto recipes
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Cilantro Basil Pesto
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves large stems removed, about 1 bunch
- ¾ cup fresh basil leaves large stems removed
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup walnuts or slivered almonds
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese shredded, or for a vegan version substitute it for another ¼ nuts
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 1 lemon juice of, or about 2 tablespoons
- ½ teaspoon pink salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Using a food processor, add the cilantro, basil, olive oil, nuts, cheese, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Blend until it becomes almost smooth. Taste it and if it is slightly bitter add a bit more salt to taste. See notes below on adjusting the taste. This pesto will last 1 week in the refrigerator in a sealed container or jar.
- Store this homemade cilantro basil pesto in a sealed jar or container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Sometimes pesto can have a slight bitter flavor based on the plant but this can easily be fixed. Try adding a bit more salt and a sprinkle of sugar or citrus juice until it goes away.
- This recipe makes 1 cup of pesto.