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Cilantro-Scallion Pesto

Joanne Smart

Servings: Yields 1-3/4 cups.

This is just one of many possible variations on the technique for making pesto; you may want to experiment with other tender herbs or greens, such as mint, spinach, arugula, or a mix of a couple of these.


  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 6 large scallions (green parts only), roughly chopped
  • 1 cup packed roughly chopped cilantro leaves (from about 1 bunch)
  • 1 cup packed roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley (from about 1/2 bunch)
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 2 Tbs. pine nuts
  • 2 Tbs. sesame seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup canola, olive, or peanut oil, or a blend

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size per Tbs.
  • Calories (kcal) : 45
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 40
  • Fat (g): 4.5
  • Saturated Fat (g): 0.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 280
  • Carbohydrates (g): 1
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 1


  • Bring 2 qt. water seasoned with 1 Tbs. of the salt to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, set up an ice bath by combining ice and water in a medium bowl.
  • Put the scallions, cilantro, and parsley in the boiling water, pressing them gently under the water, and cook for just 2 or 3 seconds. Quickly remove them from the water (a Chinese strainer works great here) and plunge them immediately into the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Let cool completely for 2 minutes.
  • Remove the blanched greens from the ice bath and squeeze them lightly with your hands or in a clean dishtowel to remove most of the excess water.
  • Chop the greens coarsely with a sharp knife and put them in a blender. Add the 1/4 cup ice water, the pine nuts, the sesame seeds, the garlic, the ginger, the remaining 1 tsp. salt, and the pepper. Blend until you-get a rough purée, scraping down the sides and adding more water to facilitate blending only if needed. With the blender running, add the oil in a steady stream until the pesto looks creamy and emulsified. Cover and store in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for up to a few months.


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