Cilantro-Cotija Pesto

Staff Writer
Cilantro-Cotija Pesto
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
90
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients
Makes
2 cups

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.

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.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
9g
14%
Saturated Fat
2g
8%
Cholesterol
2mg
1%
Protein
2g
4%
Carbs
0.8g
0.3%
Vitamin A
6µg
1%
Vitamin C
0.5mg
0.8%
Vitamin E
1mg
5%
Vitamin K
9µg
12%
Calcium
26mg
3%
Fiber
0.3g
1.1%
Folate (food)
3µg
N/A
Folate equivalent (total)
3µg
1%
Iron
0.4mg
2.2%
Magnesium
22mg
5%
Monounsaturated
6g
N/A
Niacin (B3)
0.2mg
0.9%
Phosphorus
60mg
9%
Polyunsaturated
1g
N/A
Potassium
38mg
1%
Sodium
33mg
1%
Zinc
0.3mg
2.3%

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