Pea & Cilantro Pesto

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | April 20th, 2020 | Recipes, Spreads & Sauces

Bright in color and flavor, this pea & cilantro pesto is the perfect topping for pasta, spaghetti squash, or even a cracker.

Pesto made with peas, cilantro, garlic, and parmesan
Pesto made with peas, cilantro, garlic, and parmesan

Pea & Cilantro Pesto

Michele Pesula Kuegler

Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins

Course Main Course

Servings 4



  • 1-1/2 cup peas*
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice about 1 lemon
  • Salt & pepper



  • Place peas in bowl of food processor.
  • Add cilantro, garlic, and parmesan.
  • Secure food processor lid, and add half of the lemon juice.
  • Turn food processor to high.
  • Leaving food processor on high, add a teaspoon of lemon juice.
  • Turn processor off, scrape down sides of bowl.
  • Turn food processor to high, adding more lemon juice, if needed, to fully incorporate ingredients.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and pulse to combine.
  • Transfer to a small bowl.
  • Serve with crackers or as a topping for spaghetti squash or pasta.



*If using frozen peas, defrost. If using fresh peas, cook until tender.

Keyword pesto

In the world of my food blog, there’s a timeline for my work, just as there is for many other jobs. Here’s what mine looks like:

  • 2 months before publication- Brainstorm recipes
  • 6 weeks before publication- Outline recipe
  • 4 weeks before publication- Test & photograph recipes
  • 3 weeks before publication- Write article, design video
  • 1 week before publication- Edit article
Pesto made with peas, cilantro, garlic, and parmesan

Although it might seem like I just wake up and start cooking in my kitchen, there’s a lot more to my planning. I create a calendar of what I will be cooking. Sometimes it’s based around holidays, sometimes it’s seasons, sometimes it’s just because I want to try working with a specific ingredient. No matter the reason, there’s a schedule I follow as I go from initial idea to final product.

Thus, when I first thought about this pesto, I was envisioning spring. As someone who’s spent the majority of her life in the cold northeast, I was thinking about time spent outside, shopping at outdoor farmer’s markets, and gatherings with friends. However, as I type this recipe, I’m working from my home (like usual) but also practicing social distancing. There aren’t any trips to the farmer’s market or social gatherings in my near future.

Pesto made with peas, cilantro, garlic, and parmesan

Even with these unexpected changes, I am excited about spring. Being at home all of the time gives me even more reason to embrace a dish that is bright and cheerful like a spring day. No, I can’t share it with friends and family, but I can enjoy it with my husband.

Of course, when you shop, some of the ingredients may not be available. Be creative. Substitute a tube of cilantro paste for the fresh cilantro. Use baby spinach. If you can’t find any of these items, then bookmark this recipe. Things will return to normal, and you’ll be able to find the ingredients you need. Then, this recipe will taste even more amazing than you imagined.

Another delicious, and unique, pasta or cracker topping (in case you’re looking to keep your meal more interesting) is this Red Pepper Pesto.

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