Must-Try Vegan Cilantro Pesto Recipe

vegan cilantro pesto recipe

Looking for a vegan-friendly pesto recipe? You’ve got to try this flavorful and aromatic vegan cilantro pesto recipe!

Is pesto made of cilantro?

Traditionally, pesto is made with basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt, and extra virgin olive oil.

So you might be wondering…

Can you substitute cilantro for basil in pesto?

Yes! Cilantro pesto is a fun variation of traditional pesto.

Here’s why you should try making cilantro pesto:

  • It’s super aromatic and tasty. As you’re making the pesto in a food processor, the aroma that wafts up is incredible!
  • It’s vegan-friendly. This cilantro pesto recipe doesn’t use any cheese, and is vegan-friendly.

About this vegan cilantro pesto recipe

This vegan cilantro pesto recipe is adapted from Elise Bauer’s recipe on Simple Recipes.

I’m a huge fan of cilantro (or coriander, as we call it over here in Malaysia), and when I discovered you could make pesto with this aromatic herb, I was over the moon!

And the best part is, it’s so easy to make! With a few pantry staples, you can whip up this flavor bomb in your food processor in 10 minutes!

What to add to pesto to make it taste better?

We all know that green herbs (basil or in this case, cilantro) is the star of any pesto. But what can you add to it to take it from pretty good to freakin’ amazing?

A clove of garlic and a squeeze of lemon in your pesto goes a long way! They add great flavor and really perk up your pesto.

Ingredients you’ll need for this vegan cilantro pesto recipe

vegan cilantro pesto recipe

To make this vegan cilantro pesto, you’ll need:

  • Cilantro. You can use the leaves and stems for this.
  • Almonds. This recipe uses blanched and peeled almonds. If you can’t find peeled almonds at the store, just buy regular ones, and soak them in boiling water for 1 minute. This softens the outer skin, making the almonds easier to peel.
  • Red onion.
  • Garlic.
  • Green chili. I like spicy food, so I’ve used half a green chili in this recipe. Feel free to use less for a milder taste.
  • Salt.
  • Lemon juice. If you have limes, you can use that instead. Either one works well for this recipe.
  • Extra virgin olive oil.

How to make cilantro pesto

Making this cilantro pesto is super easy.

Step #1: Add all your ingredients (except the olive oil) into a food processor.

vegan cilantro pesto recipe

Step #2: Blitz until the ingredients are finely chopped.

Step #3: Scrape down the sides of your food processor.

Step #4: Turn on your food processor while pouring in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream.

And you’re done!

How to use this cilantro pesto

This pesto recipe is super versatile! You can use it in so many different ways to add flavor to your dishes.

Here are some ideas on how to use this pesto:

  • Make chicken pesto naan pizza. Instead of pizza base and tomato sauce, make a pizza with naan bread and this cilantro pesto in just 10 minutes!
vegan cilantro pesto recipe
  • Toss this pesto with some pasta for a quick and yummy meal.
  • Use it as a marinade for chicken or shrimp.
  • Spread it on some bread to make an epic sandwich.

Can you freeze cilantro pesto?

Yes! Fill an ice cube tray with this pesto, and freeze. Once frozen, pop out the pesto-cubes, and transfer them to a freezer bag.

Take out one, two, or as many cubes as you need when you’re craving pesto!

vegan cilantro pesto recipe

Vegan Cilantro Pesto Recipe

This vegan cilantro pesto is a must-try for pesto lovers! It’s a fun, interesting variation on a classic. Make a big batch of this pesto, and use it to add a herbaceous kick to your pizza, pasta, and other dishes! Bon appétit!
Prep Time 10 minutes


  • Food Processor


  • 2 cups chopped cilantro, leaves & stems
  • 1/2 cup almonds, blanched & peeled
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 green chili
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)


  • Put all the ingredients (except the EVOO) into a food processor, and blitz until finely chopped.
  • Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a spoon.
  • Turn on the food processor again and pour in the EVOO in a slow stream. Blitz until the mixture forms a coarse paste.


This recipe makes a yield of 1 cup.
Keyword cilantro pesto, coriander pesto, vegan cilantro pesto, vegan indian recipes


This vegan cilantro pesto is a must-try for pesto lovers! It’s a fun, interesting variation on a classic.

Make a big batch of this pesto, and use it to add a herbaceous kick to your pizza, pasta, and other dishes! Bon appétit!

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