Pumpkin Seed Cilantro Pesto

December 19, 2014

Author Notes: Pumpkin seeds and cilantro pair for a perfect umami of flavors in this versatile pesto. The secret ingredient: toasted sesame seed oil.Shef Sherry

Serves: 6


  • 1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds or pepitas
  • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves and stems
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1 piece garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pinches black pepper
  • pinches red pepper flakes (optional)
In This Recipe


  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Toast pumpkin seeds on skillet until golden brown. You will start to hear the pumpkin seeds pop, don’t worry this is a good thing. Toss seeds frequently in the skillet to prevent burning. Remove and let cool.
  2. Take cilantro and trim off dry ends. Form into a bunch and rip in half. Toss cilantro into food processor, along with toasted pumpkin seeds, garlic, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, toasted sesame seed oil, olive oil, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes (optional). Pulse until smooth, periodically scraping down the sides.
  3. To store, keep in an airtight container. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top to cover the entire surface to keep the pesto fresh and prevent browning.

More Great Recipes:
Condiment/Spread|Cilantro|Lemon Juice|Seed|Sesame|Vegetable|Pesto

Reviews (2) Questions (0)

2 Reviews

mmurphysulgrave June 26, 2016
How much parmesan cheese? 3/4 cup?
Author Comment
Shef S. June 27, 2016
Good catch mmurphysulgrave! Looks like I forgot to include the parmesan cheese into my recipe! I typically start with 2/3 cup of parmesan cheese and then work my way up. But if you like your pesto on the chunkier/saltier/cheesier side then by all means go for it!