by Katherine Deumling of Cook With What You Have
This is so delicious and you can use either parsley, cilantro, or both, which is maybe my favorite version. Just make sure you toast the pumpkin seeds first. It doesn’t have any cheese in it, but is rich from the large amount of pumpkin seeds.
I use a food processor for this but if you don’t have one you can make a slightly less uniform version by finely and mincing/chopping everything by hand as finely as you can.
You can use this pesto as a spread on crostini or sandwiches, or stir it into scrambled eggs. It’s delicious mixed with either plain yogurt and/or mayonnaise for a dip or sauce for roasted vegetables, meats or fish. You can dilute it with water, cream, more oil and/or lemon juice) for a dressing for grain or bean salads. And of course you can serve it with pasta like basil pesto. Be sure to thin it with a bit of hot, starchy pasta cooking water in that case.
Yields about 1 ¼ cups
1/2 bunch parsley, washed and shaken dry, tough stems discarded and leaves roughly chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed and shaken dry, leaves and stems roughly chopped
2 small cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup toasted, cooled pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup olive oil (or more)
Salt, to taste
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice (more, to taste)
Toast pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan frequently to ensure even toasting. The seeds begin popping when they’re just about done. It will take about 5-7 minutes for them to turn a bit golden and pop. Be careful not to burn them and put them in a bowl cool completely before using in the pesto. If you leave them in the pan to cool the may get too dark.
Process the seeds and garlic in a food processor until quite fine. Add herbs and a few pinches salt and process again until its very finely chopped. Add oil and pulse a few times and taste. Adjust for salt and add just a touch of lemon juice. You don’t want a pronounced lemon flavor, but just a little to brighten everything up.
Use as a spread or mix with mayonnaise or yogurt (see headnote) for a dip or dilute for a dressing/sauce.
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