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Nothing says summer like pesto. I LOVE pesto and recently have started experimenting outside the basil box. You can get super creative with pestos, using different greens such as kale and arugula or herbs like cilantro and parsley. They’re all rich in antioxidants and nutrients. I happen to love cilantro, so I created this creamy vegan cilantro pesto, but you could use other herbs or combinations of herbs you like.
This this rich, creamy pesto. If you’re dairy free like me, fear not: The mighty avocado has your back. Avocado is mild enough to give pesto a creaminess without an overpowering flavor. You won’t miss the cheese, either. This simple recipe is easily adaptable to whatever greens you have in your fridge (and is a great way to use up leftover greens of all types). I chose cilantro here because I love it, and it’s packed with nutritive benefits. You can use a combo of parsley and cilantro; basil and arugula; kale and basil; you get the picture. I really should call this superfood cilantro pesto. Isn’t it wonderful when something so good for you is SO delicious?
Here it is again when I made it with basil.
Let’s take a look at the benefits this pesto provides
- Cilantro is most well known for chelating mercury and heavy metals and assisting in their excretion from the body. It’s also rich in vitamin K, antioxidants, and minerals.
- Avocado is rich in fiber and glutathione, a crucial antioxidant needed for liver detox and anti-aging. Contains more potassium than a banana! Also a great source of healthy fats, so it’s excellent for skin and anti-aging. Provides vitamin K, folate, and a handful of B vitamins.
- Olive oil is anti-inflammatory and high in phenolic antioxidants. Very cardio-protective. I use and recommend this brand for day to day use.
- Garlic has potent medicinal properties courtesy of allicin, which is anti-pathogenic. I use allicin-based supplements as part of my candida and parasite protocols. Garlic wards off sickness and boosts immune health. May also improve cardiovascular health.
I served this over cauliflower rice (pictured above), and it was the absolute best thing I have eaten in recent memory. You could also serve it over brown rice pasta or zucchini noodles made with your spiral slicer, or use it to top salmon or steak. Would be great with scrambled eggs or roasted veggies. You can’t go wrong with this beauty. Enjoy!
Creamy Cilantro Pesto (Vegan)
- 1 bunch cilantro (Could also use basil, parsley, arugula, kale, spinach, or a combo), or about 3-4 cups packed leaves
- 1 very ripe avocado
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil more if needed
- 1 clove garlic
- squeeze lime juice
- sea salt & pepper to taste
- Pull leaves of herbs from stems and add leaves to food processor.
- Scoop avocado into food processor and add 2 tbsp of olive oil along with rest of ingredients.
- Pulse until it becomes a paste and leaves are broken down.
- You'll probably need to add more olive oil at this point, depending on how thick you want it.
- Add sea salt and pepper to your liking.
- I've also added a spoonful of pine nuts for added richness.
- Store in the fridge. I recommend squeezing a little lemon juice over the top for storage, or it'll turn brown pretty quickly.
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. She combines a science-based approach with natural therapies to rebalance the body. In addition to her 1:1 coaching, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and improve your health. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.