“Just spicy enough” cilantro pesto

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I didn’t actually know what pesto was until I was about 20-21. Hey, don’t hate on me for growing up with nothing but canned marinara my whole life. Anyway, I instantly fell in love with the pesto I had been served. It was made by my mom’s priest, and he is a total garlic fiend, so I’m assuming there was at least a full clove in my small serving alone.

And if you can’t tell… I really like garlic.

Hell, I’m surprised I haven’t incorporated more garlic into my posts. Perhaps I should focus on that!

For now, I’ll satisfy my own (and hopefully some of your) garlic cravings with this easy, healthy recipe. It’s a zesty alternative to a sweeter, basil-based pesto, has some crunch added with kale, and can totally take a sandwich into “OMG!” territory.

“Just spicy enough” cilantro pesto
Makes one mini mason jar worth of pesto


  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup kale (baby kale or curly preferred for the crunch)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional, recommended if you like your pesto cheesy)
  • 1/2 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil + more as you need it

In a food processor, shred the greens first until they’re a fine confetti, then add the seeds, hemp, nooch (if using) and garlic and pulse some more. Finally add your oil when you add your spices in.

As you can see, I don’t use a lot of oil in my pesto because I prefer it to be more packed and dense, not as liquidy. It’s simply a preference and you can add more as you see fit.

This pesto goes great in a grain and veggie bowl, or in a breakfast burrito! I’m not much of a pasta eater these days, but hey… nothing is stopping you from that either. Oooh, or a pizza. Yeah, pizza. Oh, I’m hungry now. Okay, time to go find food!


About breerodymantha

Proud Canadian. Long arms. Tiny head. Big dreams. CBC. Longboards. Bicycles. Upper Jarvis. Ballet. Acrobatics. Top-roping. Stemming. Smearing. Lip balm. Early mornings. Double-layered socks. Tea time.
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