Roasted Pepper Pistachio Cilantro Pesto Recipe

Roasted Pepper Pistachio Cilantro Pesto Recipe is a cilantro pesto that is perfect for pasta, dips, or spread.

Roasted Pepper Pistachio Cilantro Pesto Recipe

Spring is right around the corner. Can you believe it?

Last week I went for a stroll through our pitiful garden plot that needs tilling and a bunch of attention before spring. Of course the only thing that’s looking alive is the cilantro (and the damn mint – damn you mint). The cilantro is only a few inches tall but it’s held its own through the winter and in a few weeks will be going strong until the summer heat zaps it.

Roasted Pepper Pistachio Cilantro Pesto Recipe

In hopes of a bumper crop of fresh cilantro I began thinking of how to use it up. Pesto is a favorite that I love to make with fresh basil throughout the summer but I’d never tried a cilantro pesto. After some thought I threw together a combo of a bunch of green things hoping for the best. Cilantro, Roasted Peppers and Pistachios Pesto is now on my list of regulars.


That’s all I’m gonna say.

I served it with pasta and shrimp but it certainly could be used for bruschetta, added to chili, or thinned for a sauce over chicken or what have you. As far as the pistachios, I had some leftover from the holidays so that’s what I used. You could certainly substitute the traditional pine nut or walnuts.

The ingredients for the pesto are simple: cilantro, poblano peppers (roasted), a jalapeno pepper (roasted), pistachios, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roasted Pepper Pistachio Cilantro Pesto Recipe

Begin by roasting the peppers. Everyone seems to have their favorite way to roast peppers but here’s one way to do it: Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and seed knob. Then coat them inside and out with olive oil then place them, cut side down, on a baking sheet and bake in a 500° oven for about 15 minutes.

They turn a deeper color and look a little shriveled but, oh, they smell so good! For the pesto, I removed the skins but if you were using them in a soup or sandwich the skins on would be fine I think. To loosen the skins on the peppers for easier removal, put the roasted peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or foil and let sit for another 15 minutes or so. To remove the skins, lay the peppers skin side up on the cutting board and with a knife or your fingers peel the skins off.

Roasted Pepper Pistachio Cilantro Pesto Recipe cilantro-pesto-pasta-10

Once the peppers are roasted (and peeled if you so desire) you’re ready to put the pesto together.

It’s basic, basic, basic.

Basically, you put all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

Cilantro Pesto Recipe

I usually process the garlic and nuts alone first so they’ll be more finely chopped, then add the cilantro, peppers, olive oil (streaming in slowly) and ending with the cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. The recipe that follows makes roughly a cup of pesto.

Roasted Pepper Pistachio Cilantro Pesto Recipe

This pesto is great for using as a bruschetta spread or with pasta. It’s wonderful with pasta! You’ve got to try this with this Shrimp Pasta recipe. You just gotta.


Roasted Pepper Pistachio Cilantro Pesto Recipe
A pesto full of flavor perfect for serving with pasta or bruschetta.
Serves: Makes about 1 cup.
  • ⅓ cup pistachios; roasted (pine nuts or walnuts may be substituted)
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 2 poblano peppers; roasted, seeded and peeled
  • 1 jalapeno pepper; roasted, seeded and peeled
  • 1 cup cilantro; loosely packed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese; shredded
  • pinch(s) salt and pepper (to taste)
  1. Process nuts and garlic in a food processor until finely minced.
  2. Add peppers and cilantro and process while slowly streaming in the olive oil until smooth.
  3. Add cheese and pulse a few times until blended.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Refrigerate covered until ready to serve.

I’d love to hear back if you try this one to see if you enjoyed it as much as we did.

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  1. 2

    katherine says

    Sounds delicious and healthy!
    I want to start a small container herb garden. Any suggestions on what to start with?

  2. 3

    Buckeroomama says

    My son loves pesto and we’ve been using jarred pesto and I’ve been wondering how to make my own… and presto, you have a recipe! I’ll definitely try this. Thanks for sharing!

  3. 4


    This looks sooooo good and I love pesto! I have a bunch of cilantro in my fridge too…hmmm…I might have to try this recipe this coming week!! Yum! You’ve combined two of my favorite foods in the final product too-shrimp and pasta! Pesto just makes it that much tastier!

  4. 5


    The pablano peppers are beautemous! ! ! (Beautiful!)

    Now if Paul wasn’t allergic to shrimp, we’d be right over tonight for dinner! :)

    Yummy Amy!

  5. 7

    Tickled Red says

    It looks delicious and right up my surfers alley. He loves cilantro!

    PS: Don’t you just love the voracious nature of mint :)

  6. 8


    what luck–you’ve used three of my utmost favorite ingredients in one simple sauce. now, get rid of those squishy shrimp and i’d have me a feast! :)

  7. 9

    Jeannene Walker says

    You take such beautiful pictures! Just watching the preparation is tantalizing.

  8. 14


    You’re so lucky something is alive in your garden. It’s still freezing here at night. Especially for that reason I love the idea of this light springy dish. Fantastic!

  9. 16


    Yum. Yum. Yum yum yum yum yum! This looks so delish. My daughter can’t eat nuts, and this probably wouldn’t quite be up my husband’s alley… But for ME? This dish would be just about perfection! Maybe I’ll try it sometime when I’m having a little ‘me’ time.

  10. 17

    Angie says

    This looks so pretty, saw it on tasty kitchen, love all your photos, so nice!

  11. 18

    Aggie says

    Oh heaven! I like how you roasted the peppers. I have to share this with all my friends! LOVE cilantro! :)

  12. 19

    Laura says

    Haven’t tried this yet, but plan to soon…delectable & right up my tastebud alley!

  13. 20


    mint is evil – evil I say!! Well unless it’s in a mint julep on Derby Day.

    This recipe looks wonderful and will be made by me soon.

  14. 21


    This recipe sounds heavenly! And so refreshing! Just what I needed to lift up my spirit! I love cilantro! It turns every dish into a meal.
    And I love mint too. If you have so much, why not try mint pesto?
    Or mint tea (only mint, no tea bag needed!). Or give bunches to friends?
    I know what you mean about mint. It can send roots and grow on the other side of your house :) But it’s a lovely, lovely herb.

  15. 22

    Iron Cook Carl says

    Looks delicious. I just wish I still ate shellfish. I’m sure I can utilize the rest of the recipe for something else. Thanks.

  16. 23


    This sounds wonderful – I like that it uses just a touch of oil and relies on the roasted peppers for bulk and flavor. I’ll have to give it a shot soon!

  17. 24


    Made this a few weeks ago and it was SO good. I’ve thought about it ever since but I didn’t want to overdo it so we’re finally making it again tonight. Thanks for such an amazing (and spicy-on-a-snowy-winter’s-night) recipe!

    • 25


      Hey Kristen!

      It really is one of my favorites. May just have to whip some up myself real soon. ; )

      ~ Amy

  18. 28

    Laura says

    This pesto is literally life changing. I am always so annoyed when I buy cilantro for a dish because it is the glitter of food, you never use it all up! Well now I’ve got something to do with all of that leftover cilantro. Seriously, making this with cilantro from now on.

  19. 29

    Christina says

    This was amazing but holy cow, taste the peppers before adding them all to the pesto. I love spicy foods, but I must have picked a really spicy jalapeño (also, there are no poblano peppers in London, so I had to use a similar pepper). I ended up just using half of the jalapeño and 1 of the other peppers and it was perfect for us! I stuffed chicken breasts with it and then baked them. I highly recommend this recipe, but definitely taste the peppers to make sure they aren’t too spicy!

  20. 32


    I love this pasta dish!!! Nothing adds flavors than to roast chiles. Great recipe! I’m going to be trying this with roasted New Mexico chiles. YUM! Thanks for sharing this!

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