Cilantro-Cumin Pesto

There are some kitchen essentials that are so easy to make at home. One example of this is pesto. The first time that you make pesto at home, you feel like it is a sin to ever buy pre-made pesto again.

I especially love making homemade pesto because of the endless variations. With one basic recipe, you can add different herbs or substitute the pine nuts for any kind of nuts. You don’t have to use basil. I have made pesto using spinach and walnuts, or a mix of different herbs. But today is all about this cilantro-cumin pesto.

Cilantro-Cumin Pesto

Prep time
10 mins

Total time
10 mins

Makes 2 cups


  • 4 cups fresh cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese


1. Combine the cilantro, pine nuts, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, and red pepper flakes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil and blend until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a small bowl and stir in the cheese.

A good tip when making pesto: take the mixture out of the food processor before you add the cheese. The blade of the food processor tends to change the consistency of the cheese. The cheese should not taste like rubber, but should add to the smooth consistency of the pesto. I like my pesto a little chunky. But if you want a thinner consistency, just use a little more olive oil and a little less cheese.

Pesto, whether you decide to mix it up or keep it classic, can be used in so many different ways. Stir it into pasta, use it as a topping for bruschetta, or turn it into a vinaigrette to jazz up a green salad. Pesto is also great spooned over steak, chicken, and all kinds of different fish. Or use this pesto in my Chorizo Breakfast Tacos.

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