This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy.

Pepita Cilantro Pesto

If you love cilantro, you’ll adore this flavorful Cilantro Pesto. Made with toasted pumpkin seeds, garlic, and lime, this unique pesto is the perfect topping for veggies, mushrooms, sandwiches, Buddha bowls, and pasta. It’s super easy to make, and adds rich flavor to any meal.

Pepita Cilantro Pesto

What can I do with a lot of cilantro?

You can make this tasty and nutritious Cilantro Pesto! It has become a staple in my home for the last decade. It’s one of those spreads that you can dress up or dress down. It has its place in a 5 course gourmet meal, and on an everyday sandwich or Buddha bowl.

Why I love Cilantro Pesto

I first encountered this recipe years ago on Sprouted Kitchen’s blog. I love every one of the ingredients; especially the cilantro and pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Whenever I have an abundance of fresh cilantro, I make this tasty pesto.

    • It’s easy to make
    • You can use the whole bunch of cilantro––stems included!
    • Nutritious
    • Adds amazing flavor to any meal
    • Makes the best sandwich spread or topping for bland meals
    • Kid-friendly

You’ll need these ingredients to make it

Cilantro: Fresh pungent cilantro is the most important ingredient in this tasty pesto. Use the cilantro leaves and stems––all of which is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Pepitas/Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds have a deliciously nutty taste that pairs well with cilantro (and really any herb). They are a great source of iron, zinc, magnesium, and plant-based protein. Make sure to use toasted pepitas for this pesto; they’ve got the richest flavor.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Of course every pesto needs olive oil. And just like any other pesto or raw dip, you’ll want to choose a high quality extra virgin olive oil because the flavor will come through.

Lime juice: The sweet tangy flavor of fresh lime juice ties this whole cilantro pesto recipe together. It balances the pungent taste of the cilantro and gives this pesto the kick it craves.

Pepita Cilantro Pesto

How to make cilantro pesto:

It’s really so easy! Add fresh clean cilantro leaves and stems to a food processor, along with the other ingredients, and blend until you have your ideal pesto texture.

How to store (yes, you can freeze it)

Store your fresh pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

It can be frozen too! Freeze the pesto in an ice cube tray, then transfer to a freezer safe bag. When you’re in the mood for pesto thaw as many cubes as you need. 

Substitutions you can try:

As much as I love cilantro, haters should try this with:

    • Basil
    • Arugula
    • Kale
    • Spinach

Don’t have pepitas? Use toasted:

    • Almonds
    • Pecans
    • Pine nuts 

Pepita Cilantro Pesto

You’ll love these other vegan pesto recipes:

Carrot top pesto

Avocado pesto pasta

Beet green almond pesto

Spinach pesto pasta

Kale pecan pesto

Arugula pesto

Dandelion pepita pesto

Basil walnut pesto

Cilantro coconut pesto

5 from 1 vote

Pepita Cilantro Pesto

Made with toasted pumpkin seeds, garlic, and lime, this unique pesto is the perfect topping for veggies, mushrooms, sandwiches, grain dishes, and pasta. It's super easy to make, and adds rich flavor to any meal. 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Servings: 4


  • 1 food processor


  • 1 large bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (use leaves and stems)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup toasted pepitas
  • 1 tsp sea salt + more to taste
  • 1 jalepeno, optional, if you like it hot
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • juice of 1 large lime
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Add ingredients to a food processor and blend until you have your ideal pesto texture. Add water or more extra virgin olive oil to thin; adding 1 tbsp at a time.
  • Season to taste with more salt and lime juice. Depending on how large your bunch of cilantro is, you may need more salt and lime.
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Jenne

I’m a Georgia Peach living in Los Angeles (by way of NYC), with an insatiable love of sweet potatoes, travel, animals, and cooking. On Sweet Potato Soul you’ll discover hundreds of delicious and easy-to-make vegan recipes.

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *