I love a classic cilantro chimichurri sauce as much as I love a traditional pesto. So I figured, why not take the best of both to make a new epic dip recipe?
In this post, I’ll show you how I took the basic cilantro chimichurri sauce recipe and used a pesto creation method to make this yummy new mash-up!
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What is the basic cilantro chimichurri sauce recipe?
To make a cilantro chimichurri sauce, you typically blend fresh cilantro, fresh parsley — and sometimes other fresh herbs — with red onion, garlic, red wine vinegar or lime juice, red pepper flakes, salt, and extra virgin olive oil. This bright and intensely flavored simple sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
It’s traditionally used on flank steak or skirt steak, but I also find it delicious to dip french fries into, much like my creamy lemon garlic dressing.
I’m a big fan of sauces!
This is why I thought it would be really fun to take some elements of chimichurri and turn them into a unique pesto. So good for spreading onto sandwiches, mixing into pasta dishes, or serving over chicken.
I basically reduced the ingredients of the cilantro chimichurri to get the general flavors down to my family’s favorites. This super simple sauce uses only these ingredients:
- Scallions (instead of onion and garlic)
- Olive oil
- Pepitas (aka roasted salted pumpkin seeds)
The pepitas are what turns this into a pesto. Pumpkin seeds give this a yummy roasty toasty flavor that you can’t really replicate with anything else. The best part is that this pesto twist is dairy free!
If you’re after a brighter flavor, you could add a squeeze of lime juice to this.
The directions are easy! Place all of the ingredients into a mini food processor and blend until it reaches a grainy consistency like this:
If you’re looking to shake up your meal plan, give this one a try! The first night I made it, I roasted broccoli, gnocchi, and chicken thighs on a sheet pan and tossed it all with this sauce. Soooo good.
If you’re a gnocchi fan, try my crispy sweet potato gnocchi next. Cheers!
- 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds, shelled (also called pepitas)
- 1 loosely packed cup of fresh cilantro
- Green ends from 1 bunch of scallions
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and chop until it reaches a grainy consistency
- Add more olive oil if the pesto is too dry to spread evenly
- Use as a spread for crostini, pizza, or a sandwich
- Use as a veggie dip for crudités or breadsticks
- Use as a sauce for pasta dishes or grilled meats
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