This cilantro pesto recipe is vegan, gluten free & paleo. It’s perfect for adding to rice or pasta, or for topping tacos, grilled chicken, steak or pork. Whip up this easy sauce in just 5 minutes to add to your next meal!

Cilantro pesto in bowl with spoon

To say I’m a fan a fan of pesto would be an understatement! I’ve created 8 different pesto recipes over the years to turn my favorite herbs into delicious sauces.

  1. Basil Pesto – the classic pesto. Great simply tossed with pasta or on pizza!
  2. Vegan Kale Pesto – a great dairy free pesto option!
  3. Spinach Pesto – a tasty way to get your daily fix of leafy greens!
  4. Sun Dried Tomato Pesto – possibly my favorite pesto (don’t tell the others!) It’s so good, I’ll simply spread it on a cracker or piece of bread.
  5. Arugula Blue Cheese Pesto – an interesting spin on pesto that I created as the perfect topping for grilled steak!
  6. Paleo Walnut Sage Pesto – another dairy free pesto option, delicious dolloped on roasted sweet potatoes or you Thanksgiving turkey!
  7. Kale Pesto – yes a second kale pesto recipe! This one is a more traditional pesto recipe, made with parmesan cheese.
  8. Cilantro Pesto – the recipe you’re here for, a delicious, Mexican inspired pesto recipe!

Years ago I had an amazing Cilantro Pesto Risotto at a Mexican restaurant in San Diego. Of course, I had to come home and recreate the dish! I started by creating this Cilantro Pesto, then adding it to a creamy risotto. It’s the perfect side dish to go with enchiladas, fajitas or tacos!

This Cilantro Pesto is not just for mixing into risotto. It’s delicious on top of grilled chicken or steak. Put a dollop on your morning eggs or on top of tacos.

It can be used in place of guacamole or salsa verde on any of your favorite Mexican dishes! If you’re someone that loves cilantro, you’re going to fall in love with this scrumptious sauce!

Cilantro lime pesto in bowl with gold spoon

How to make Cilantro Pesto

  • Add cilantro (both leaves and stems) to a blender or food processor with garlic cloves, almonds, salt and pepper.
  • Pulse for 15 seconds.
  • Add extra virgin olive oil, lime juice and water with the food processor running slowly.
  • Continue blending for 20-30 seconds, or until all of the ingredients are combined into a creamy sauce.

Can I freeze Cilantro Pesto?

This cilantro pesto will stay good in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You can also freeze it in ice cube trays, then transfer the pesto cubes to a freezer-safe Ziplock bag.

Pesto can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. Just pop a cube of pesto out whenever you want to add it to a dish!

Vegan cilantro pesto in bowl with fresh cilantro in background

How to use Cilantro Pesto

You’ve seen how easy Cilantro Pesto is to make, but you might still need inspiration for how to use it. Luckily I’ve got some ideas for you!

  • On top of tacos! Top Carne Asada Tacos or Beef Barbacoa Tacos with this delicious pesto sauce.
  • Mix it in your rice! Kick up the flavor of cooked white rice, brown rice or cauliflower rice by mixing in some cilantro pesto. About a teaspoon per cup of rice makes a great addition!
  • Add it to your fajitas! Use my famous Fajita Seasoning to make steak or chicken fajitas and top the fajitas with cilantro pesto. Or whip up these easy 10 minute Veggie Fajita Rice Bowls and top them with the pesto!
  • On top of nachos! I’m all about loading up nachos with tons of flavorful ingredients. Dollop this pesto on top of The Ultimate Pulled Pork Nachos or Low Carb Nachos. Or serve it on the side as a dipping sauce!

Made this pesto recipe and loved it? Be sure to rate it 5 stars below! ↓

Cilantro pesto in white bowl with gold spoon
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Cilantro Pesto

This cilantro pesto recipe is vegan, gluten free & paleo, it's perfect for adding to rice or pasta, or for topping tacos, grilled chicken, steak or pork!



  • Add the cilantro, garlic, almonds, salt and black pepper to a food processor, or blender.
  • Blend for 15-20 seconds.
  • Pour the olive oil into the food processor while blending, another 15-20 seconds.
  • Add the lime juice and water, continue blending for 5-10 seconds, or until all ingredients are incorporated.


  • Spice it up! Want to spice up the sauce? Add one chopped jalapeno with the cilantro.
  • Pack it in! Be sure to pack the cilantro in a measuring cup to make sure you're getting a full 4 cups to make the sauce.
  • Freeze it! This sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 6 months. I recommend freezing the pesto in ice cube trays, then transferring them to a freezer safe bag. This makes it easy to use one ice cube at a time whenever you want to pop a little pesto into a dish!

Nutrition Facts

Calories 1156kcal (58%)Carbohydrates 22g (7%)Protein 16g (32%)Fat 116g (178%)Saturated Fat 13g (65%)Sodium 22mg (1%)Potassium 742mg (21%)Fiber 9g (36%)Sugar 3g (3%)Vitamin A 2160mg (43%)Vitamin C 20.5mg (25%)Calcium 226mg (23%)Iron 3.8mg (21%)
Did you make this recipe?Tag @WhitneyBond on Instagram and hashtag it #WBRecipes!

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