Cilantro-Cotija Pesto

Cilantro-Cotija Pesto
Staff Writer
Cilantro-Cotija Pesto
Michale Harlan Turkell

Cilantro-Cotija Pesto

Here's a pesto with a Mexican twist. Toasted pepitas lend a savory element to this sauce, and cilantro and basil lend some bright herbal elements. Use this as a dressing for Mexican-inspired vegetable sides or on grilled fish for a flavor sensation you won't soon forget.

Click here to see 5 Authentic Mexican Dishes for Cinco de Mayo.

32
Servings
100
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup unsalted raw or roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, stems trimmed 2 inches from the bottom
  • 1 Cup basil leaves
  • 1 Cup olive oil, plus more for storage
  • 1/2 serrano chile or 1 jalapeño, chopped coarsely
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
  • 1/2 Cup crumbled cotija, preferably Cacique, or shredded pecorino or Parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Spread the pumpkin seeds in an even layer on a baking sheet. Put the sheet in the oven and bake, checking them and shaking the pan every 3 minutes, until they start to dance, puff up, and brown lightly, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the seeds to a bowl, and let cool to room temperature.

Put the cilantro, basil, and olive oil into the bowl of a food processor, and purée for 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin seeds, chile, garlic, and cotija and pulse until you have a coarse purée. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To store, put it into a container with a tight-fitting lid and pour ¼-inch olive oil over the surface to keep out the air. Each time you use it, stir in that oil, and replace with another ¼-inch oil before closing the container; this makes an airtight seal that will keep it tasting fresh for up to 10 days.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
8g
11%
Sugar
1g
1%
Saturated Fat
1g
4%
Carbohydrate, by difference
6g
5%
Protein
1g
2%
Vitamin A, RAE
17µg
2%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
1mg
1%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
31µg
34%
Calcium, Ca
15mg
2%
Choline, total
1mg
0%
Fiber, total dietary
1g
4%
Folate, total
7µg
2%
Magnesium, Mg
21mg
7%
Phosphorus, P
12mg
2%
Sodium, Na
12mg
1%
Water
6g
0%
Zinc, Zn
1mg
13%

Cilantro Shopping Tip

Buy green leafy vegetables like arugula, watercress, and collards – they are good sources of vitamins A, C, and K and minerals like iron and calcium.

Cilantro Cooking Tip

Brighten up sandwiches or salads with small, tender leaves like spinach and add larger, tougher leaves like kale to soups and stews.