A month or so ago I made a pesto recipe that I adapted from the Electric Co-op magazine. They were having a contest for Texas Nut recipes and I noticed this one because I love cilantro, and I love pecans! Cilantro is one of those strong flavors that you either love or hate, so if it’s not for you I’m sorry but you won’t like this recipe. I happened to have some cilantro left from making blender salsa with the afterschool kids that day, and pecans in the freezer, so I was excited!
I love pesto but I had never made it because usually the ingredients are not things I have on hand or that you can get in a small town (pine nuts, basil leaves, etc.). Both my daughter Brooke and I loved the recipe so much that I posted it on Facebook that night. Since then, several friends have told me that they tried it and liked it so I thought it was worth sharing with everyone. It is inexpensive to make and pretty good for you, too! Here is my version of the recipe
½ c. olive oil
¾ c. toasted pecans (support our local Pecan growers when you can!)
1 c. loosely packed cilantro leaves (stems removed)
1 teaspoon jar garlic (freshly roasted garlic would be even better, and garlic powder would work in a pinch- try ½ a teaspoon if you use powder)
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons cider or red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Blend it all in a food processor (a blender will work but the pecans won’t be smooth) and toss it with cooked pasta (try whole grain pasta or a friend of mine highly recommends a brand called Dreamfields). Toasting the nuts makes a huge difference so don’t forget that part. I do it in the microwave, just make sure to stir them every minute or so for around 5 min (for whole nuts). If they are already in pieces just a couple of minutes will do and STIR (even more) OFTEN! I’ll make it with walnuts when I’m out of pecans.
Note: I did make this again recently, and I tried using toasted almonds. It just didn’t have the same wow factor. That is, until I sprinkled toasted walnuts all over it, and then it was almost as good as the pecan version!