Cilantro Pesto Pasta

I have dreams of one day having an herb garden.  Whenever a recipe calls for fresh herbs, it would be great to walk right outside to the garden and snip a bit of basil or pluck a few leaves of mint.  But as I’ve mentioned previously, Graham and I currently don’t have much of a yard, so a garden is not in the cards for us.

While I do have a small pot of herbs growing on the porch, it is not quite cutting it for all of our cooking needs.  Instead, I buy herbs from the store or farmers market.  Usually I find everything I need, but most of the time the herbs come in bunches that are much larger than what the recipe calls for.   Once I add the required amount to the recipe, I try to use up the leftover herbs in other recipes, but it seems like inevitably some goes to waste.

After making the chimichuri sauce for last week’s empanadas, I was left with about half a bunch of cilantro.  Not wanting to let the cilantro go to waste, I started brainstorming ways to use up the herbs.  Both Graham and I loved the chimichuri sauce that went with the empanadas, so why not make something similar that could be served over pasta!?

So I threw together the cilantro and a few other ingredients that I had on hand and the results were a pesto that was light and packed with refreshing cilantro flavor.   The cilantro pesto would also probably be good over potatoes and other vegetables, so really, in the future, I’ll have no excuse for letting herbs go to waste again!

Cilantro Pesto Pasta

Similar to the chimichuri sauce, I used my mezzaluna to mince together the ingredients.  A food processor or a knife would also work for mincing.

  • About 8oz of dried whole wheat pasta
  • ¼ -½ cups olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • ½ a bunch of cilantro
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Shaved pecorino cheese

Prepare pasta according to the package directions.

While pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a small pot for a few minutes.   Use a mezzaluna or knife to mince together the garlic and cilantro.   Stir the garlic and cilantro mixture into the warm oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a large pot, mix together the pesto and the cooked pasta.  Fold in the tomatoes and garnish the pasta with shaved pecorino cheese.

Tasty Easy Healthy Green Recipe Ratings:

Recipe Report Card Notes About Recipe Ratings

Tasty Rating


Four Chefs (Delicious!)

How can you go wrong with cilantro and garlic?

Easy Rating


Four Easy Chairs (ABC, Easy as 123…)

The pesto is super quick to make and of course cooking dried pasta is pretty easy.

Healthy Rating


Three Apples (Average Nutritional Quality)

The pesto has a good amount of oil, but using whole-wheat pasta helped make the dish a little healthier.

Green Rating


Four Leaves (Mother Earth Approved)

All the ingredients were organic, except for the pecorino I used to garnish the dish.
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