Pumpkin Seed Pesto


I know, some of you might be groaning over this non-traditional pesto, but you know what? I don’t care!! There are times to be a purist, and then there are times when being one keeps you from enjoying all kinds of things in life! Relax and embrace the endless varieties of pesto that can be created from fabulous herbs, nuts, and cheeses.

Would it be better if I call this a pisto? Then it can’t be compared to the traditional Genovese basil pesto, because it’s pisto. To be more specific, this is cilantro and pumpkin seed pisto. Made creamy.

Before the weather gets too hot where I live, cilantro grows quite prolifically in my garden. If I go a few days without using any, I have to cut it way back to keep it from going to seed, see cilantro oil.

Today I had to do just that. And therefore this luscious meal was created in minutes for dinner!

Pasta with Creamy Cilantro Pumpkin Seed Pisto

Large bunch of cilantro or fresh coriander, de-stemmed of thick stems*
1/3 – 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
5 cloves garlic, peeled
Pinch of salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup half and half
Pasta of choice, 12 ounces

Place the cilantro, pumpkin seeds, garlic, and salt in the blender jar. Judge the volume of pumpkin seeds based on how much cilantro you have.


Start up the blender and add oil slowly, until a thin paste is produced. You might have to scrape down the blender jar and re-blend.


Add the half and half and blend until smooth; set aside.

It will look like this:

Meanwhile, cook your pasta of choice according to package directions. Drain, then place in a large bowl.

Add the creamy pisto and toss gently to coat.

Serve warm, topped with extra pumpkin seeds, if desired.

This pasta would also be good as a side dish to grilled fish or chicken.

note: I completely forgot to add any Parmesan or other cheese to this dish, but it wasn’t missed. The creamy pisto overides the need for cheese.

* The amount I used for this pisto would just about equal a bunch of cilantro you would get at a grocery store. Just wash it and dry it first before using.

16 thoughts on “Pumpkin Seed Pesto

  1. Sounds a great combination. There are all kinds of pestos found in shops here … I think there could only be an objection if claiming it’s a Genovese one and it not having the traditional ingredients. Yours sounds delicious!

  2. You won’t hurt my feelings, I love all kinds of pesto, even cilantro which might be a stretch to some gastronomic sensibilities ;)

    I’ll be a guest at your table anytime!

  3. I don’t think there are any laws governing pesto and if there are – I’ve been in serious violation for some time! I love cilantro in pesto – or lemon balm – or arugula – or sorel. I would love this pesto on a piece of wild salmon with some new baby potatoes.

  4. Hi Mimi, just saw Johnny mentioning your pesto on Feed The Piglet – so glad he did that, I jumped right over, and it’s totally my kind of thing!

  5. oof, this looks really really … what’s the word? what you said: luscious. Makes my mouth water. Viva Pisto!

Leave a Reply. I love 'em!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.